Cloud computing has been a boon to the millennials and the world of technology for obvious reasons.
Not only does it allows data storage and management, but also helps in accessing data anytime, anywhere over the internet.
While cloud computing comes in with a lot of advantages, but when the question of safety arises, we cannot be too sure as to how secure the data is, particularly the ones stored in a public cloud.
The security issues faced can be broadly categorized into concerns faced by cloud provider and those faced by the customer. Cloud service providers must ensure that their infrastructure is secure and their users’ data is protected.
At the same time, customers must make sure they password-protect their apps and have other verification measures in place.
Some of the commonly seen cloud computing security risks are:
· Loss of sensitive data
· Violation of existing regulatory controls
· Malware infections
· Hacked interfaces
· Permanent data loss
· Abuse of cloud service
· Insider threat
· Hijacking of accounts
However, the possible threats to our data do not mean they cannot be made secure. Cloud security can be made effective if proper defensive measures are implemented.
Here are a few practical tips, which will make your cloud experience risk-free.
1. Backup Data Locally
One of the most important things to consider while managing data is to ensure that you have backups for your data. It is always good to have electronic copies of your data so you can continue accessing them even if the original gets lost or corrupted.
You can either choose to back them up in some other cloud storage or manually back up in an external storage device. To be on the safer side, it would be great if you could do both since the latter will come in handy in times of poor or no internet connectivity.
2. Avoid Storing Sensitive Information
Let’s be honest. There is no such thing as actual privacy on the internet, and the rise in the number of identity thefts is standing proof of it. So it is always advisable to avoid storing information such as passwords, credit/debit card details etc. on the cloud.
Sensitive information could also be intellectual property such as patents and copyrights. Even if we take every possible precaution to protect them, these kind of information can land in another individual/company’s data management system somehow, which in turn can lead to potential data leakage.
3. Use Cloud Services that Encrypt Data
To enjoy better privacy, always look for cloud storage services that offer local encryption for your data. This provides double security as the files will have to be decrypted to gain access. This method protects your data even from service providers and administrators. Taking a few preventive measures like this around data encryption can make your most sensitive information tightly secure.
4. Encrypt Your Data
Before you upload your files onto the cloud, it is always beneficial to encrypt your data, even if the cloud storage automatically encrypts them. There are many third-party encryption tools that will apply passwords and encryption to files once you are done editing them so that they are encrypted before uploading.
5. Install Anti-virus Software
All the above security measures could be taken to secure your data, but sometimes the problem is not cloud security but the system you have logged in from. Hackers can easily access your account if there is no proper protection in place for your system. In such cases you are exposing yourself to viruses that provide penetration points.
6. Make Passwords Stronger
This might be something you have heard over and over again. But still, it is very important to provide stronger passwords to prevent your files from being hacked. There are sites offering tips on how to form strong passwords.
Apart from creating a strong and unique password, it is also important to change them frequently, and not share it with anyone. Most login pages these days have additional identification questions to confirm the authorized user.
7. Test the Security Measures in Place
Instead of assuming that all files are perfectly secure on the cloud, some organizations, especially highly data-sensitive ones, hire certified ethical-hackers to test their security position. These assessments are as much important on cloud as they are off cloud. If it is possible for you to gain unauthorized access to your own data, chances are that someone else can too.
Cloud storage comes with its own set of advantages in many ways than one. But always bear in mind that security assurances are not guaranteed, yet possible. Adopting few security measures from our end, like the above, can go a long way in maintaining safe files on and off cloud.
Always better to be safe than sorry, right?
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