With mobile devices and virtual workplaces on the rise, more and more businesses are seeing the value of storing their data in the cloud. Reduced costs, mobility and data accessibility are all attractive benefits of cloud computing but with this type of convenience, comes a concern for security. With all the recent news about hacking, many wonder how to keep their data safe in the cloud.

Making the decision to move your content to the cloud can be tough. Afterall, the most valuable asset you have is your data. When security questions arise, it’s important to realize that the security of your data begins with your company procedures and employees. Here are a few tips on how you can protect your data in the cloud.

Securing Your Data From the Inside – Out

Password Policies: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Imagine your business’s data security relying on an employee using their birthday for a password? Bad idea.

Password policies are the first defense for your data. These protocols should be strong and inviolable. No one likes cryptic passwords and having it change them often, but there is a reason for these strategies. These procedures are important, but they take time, expertise and planning to implement and maintain.

Permission Granted: At a higher level are access policies and permissions. It would be simple to give everyone the same access to all data, but is that the best policy? A hierarchical system of data access is not only crucial to protecting your data, but critical in identifying and closing any breach and weakness. Planning, implementing and maintaining this strategy is a time consuming process, but necessary for your data’s security.

Use Protection: Most businesses utilize virus protection on their computers. But is that enough? An advantage to storing data in the cloud is its accessibility from different locations and platforms. Computers at your company may be protected, but what about employees who access data from their tablet after downloading an app from Facebook? Or who gets into the company’s intranet on vacation in the Caribbean? Virus protection policies are as important as access and passwords. The protection of your data in the cloud needs to be bulletproof and that is more complex than protecting local computers on your network.

Encryption: Encryption is a term that many hear and few understand. It’s easy to use terms such as SSL and 128-bit encryption, but what does that mean, and more importantly, how is it implemented? When accessing your data from the cloud, it is passing through dozens of networks, backbones and routers, all of which are susceptible to hacking. Your data needs to be protected not only at both ends, but while in transit. Encryption ensures that if the data is intercepted, it won’t be usable to the hacker, but encryption is a highly skilled specialty.

Conduct an Audit: Another factor in having your data and applications in the cloud is the need to monitor and audit access to that data. Who is reading it? If there is a breach, where and how did it occur? A complete audit trail of your data’s access is crucial in protecting it, and in apprehending someone if a breach does occur.

Is Your Data at Risk?

Even though your data resides in the cloud, the security of that data begins with your employees, computers and networks. Securing this environment and protecting it with access methods, firewalls, and password policies can be a complicated and time consuming process. However, the risk of losing of jeopardizing the integrity of that data can have devastating affects. Speak to an IT Professional, like Element IT Solutions to discuss the best options for your data security.

About Tony Zuffa

Tony Zuffa is the President and CEO of Element IT Solutions. He has been in the IT industry for over 20 years. He combines business requirements and technical architecture into a customized solution that aligns with the company vision.