Is your confidential data safe in the cloud? A closer look

Cloud computing and access to their data. Instead of keeping files on local servers or computers, companies now store information remotely on servers owned by third-party cloud providers. This is to access data from anywhere with an internet connection using online notes, collaboration platforms, and other cloud-based tools. The cloud offers many benefits, from reduced IT costs to improved scalability and flexibility. But is the cloud as secure as we’d like to believe when storing confidential data?

Data breaches

No organization is too big or small to be targeted by cybercriminals. In 2022, there were over 5,200 publicly disclosed data breaches worldwide, up 11% from the previous year. Cloud-based data is vulnerable to violations through hacking, malware, social engineering attacks, and other means. Confidential information could be exposed or fall into the wrong hands if a breach occurs.

Insider threats

online notepad data breaches are caused by outside attackers. Sometimes, the call is coming from inside the house. Malicious insiders like disgruntled employees or contractors with access to sensitive cloud data steal or leak information for personal gain or revenge. Even well-meaning expose data by falling for phishing scams or using weak passwords.

Compliance issues

They are storing confidential data in the cloud it harder to comply with privacy and security regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. These laws have strict requirements for how sensitive data must be protected. Noncompliance leads to costly penalties, legal action, and reputational harm. Ensuring that your cloud provider adheres to relevant regulations and supports your compliance efforts is essential.

Best practices for securing cloud data

Encrypt sensitive data

Encryption helps protect data by converting it into a secret code that can only be decrypted with the correct key. Most cloud providers offer built-in encryption for data stored on their servers, often called “encryption at rest.” However, you may want to add an extra layer of security by encrypting data yourself before uploading it to the cloud, known as “encryption in transit.” This ensures that even if a breach occurs, attackers won’t be able to read your data without the encryption key.

Use strong access controls

Robust access controls are crucial for preventing unauthorized access to confidential cloud data. This includes requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) for user logins, setting up role-based access permissions, and regularly reviewing and updating user accounts. Using single sign-on (SSO) to streamline access management across multiple cloud apps is also good.

Secure endpoints and connections

Cloud security isn’t just about protecting data on remote servers. You also need to secure the devices and networks that access that data. This means keeping employee computers and mobile devices patched and updated, using endpoint protection tools like antivirus software, and securing internet connections with virtual private networks (VPNs). Remember to secure any APIs or third-party integrations connected to your cloud environment.

Providers are created equal when it comes to security. Do your due diligence before entrusting your confidential data to a particular vendor. Look for providers with vital security track records, use industry-standard encryption and access controls, conduct regular third-party audits, and comply with relevant regulations. Review the provider’s security documentation and SLAs carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask detailed questions about their practices.