How to Manage and Protect Your Cloud Data

Posted on Dec 27, 2018 by Sean Doyle
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The use of cloud storage is growing at a very significant rate. Cloud storage is predicted to be the most widely used option by 2020 due to many factors including accessibility and affordability. With cloud storage, users can access data stored in the cloud from anywhere and at any time if they have access to the internet, and a business can recover data in an emergency if a suitable recovery or backup plan is used.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a way to store data online. Instead of storing files locally on a hard drive, external drive, or flash drive, cloud storage allows you to save and access files on the internet. There are many cloud service providers (CSPs) and platforms that can be used to store your data on the cloud. When it comes to choosing a CSP, make sure to take several factors into consideration if you want to successfully manage and protect your cloud data.

There are some advantages to using cloud storage as a way to store data:

  • Accessibility – Files stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Data/Disaster Recovery – Cloud storage stores files at a remote location which provides a solution in the case of an emergency.
  • Affordability – Businesses, organizations, and individual users can reduce annual operating costs.

There are also some concerns to be taken into consideration when managing cloud storage:

  • Accessibility – If you do not have an internet connection, you cannot access your data.
  • Bandwidth – Some cloud storage services have a specific bandwidth allowance and will charge users who surpass it. On the other hand, there are also cloud services that allow unlimited bandwidth.
  • Data Security – There are always concerns when storing data online. But, there are ways to protect your cloud data in order to keep it safe and intact.

The cloud has a target on it’s back because of what’s being stored inside of it, such as personal data, intellectual property, and other information that businesses and individuals might want to keep a secret. The essence of cloud storage is what makes it a lucrative target for cybercriminals and this raises many concerns when it comes to cloud data protection.

Cloud data protection is an approach to protect data that you store in the cloud. It is constructed to manage, protect, and secure your stored cloud data. Companies that offer data protection as a service (DPaaS) can be utilized to build better security for data stored in the cloud. But, there are other steps that should be accounted for. After all, protecting your cloud data not only rests on your service provider but on you as well.
 

1. Don’t Store Sensitive Information on The Cloud

A general rule of thumb is to only store data that you need frequent access to on the cloud and to avoid storing sensitive information such as documents that contain passwords, credit card numbers, home addresses, and intellectual property.

If you store sensitive data on the cloud, make sure that the data is encrypted before you upload it and take other safety precautions to protect your cloud data.
 

2. Use a Strong Password

It’s probably something you hear all the time and maybe even utilize in your own life. But, it’s still very important that you employ the use of a strong password to protect your cloud data. A password is the first line of defense against hackers. Make sure that your password is strong and unique enough to withstand hacking or cracking attempts.

Aside from using a strong and unique password, make sure that you frequently change your password and avoid using the same password to access other accounts you have online.
 

3. Use Multi-factor Authentication

If you want to take it a step further, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect your cloud data. Some cloud service providers offer MFA, and some don’t. It is recommended to use a CSP that gives you the option to use multi-factor authentication such as two-factor authentication (2FA).

For example, Google Drive is a popular CSP that gives you the option to use 2FA. When you use 2FA with Google Drive, a verification code is sent to your mobile phone and you use this code along with your password to access your cloud data.
 

4. Backup Data Locally

When it comes to managing your cloud data it is always a good idea to have a local backup of your data. A local backup allows you to store, access, and recover data if you do not have access to the internet.

You can choose to back up your data in another cloud storage or manually backup your data to an external storage device such as a hard disk, flash drive, or another portable storage device.
 

5. Use Cloud Services That Encrypt Your Data

To best protect your cloud data, look for a cloud service provider that offers local encryption for your data. This provides a layer of security for your data and protects your data from outsiders, including your service provider and administrators. Encrypting your files during the uploading and download phases makes it so your files have to be decrypted in order to gain access to them.
 

6. Encrypt Data Before Storing it on The Cloud

Before uploading files onto the cloud, use a reputable third-party encryption tool to encrypt your data, even if you already use a service provider that encrypts your data. Using a third-party cloud-protection application allows you to apply passwords and generate private key sequences to your files.
 

7. Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) does a lot for your security. It protects your online activity from prying eyes by acting as a proxy and running your traffic through an encrypted tunnel. When accessing your cloud data, especially over a public network, a VPN will make it so you’re anonymous to everyone.
 

8. Use Antivirus Software

Hackers can easily compromise your cloud data if your system is not protected. Without Antivirus software you are exposing your system to malware and viruses that can provide access for hackers and corrupt your data. Use reputable Antivirus software to protect your system and data on your end.

About Sean Doyle

Sean Doyle has been involved in the cybersecurity industry for many years and has written for several publications. Twitter: @Botcrawl

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