6 Ways to Safely Use Cloud Services and Keep Your Data Safe

In the current digital age, cloud computing has become an essential part of running a business, enabling us to store and access our data from anywhere in the world. However, with this convenience comes the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks which have significantly increased over the past couple of years. Cyberattacks can happen to any organisation, at any time, irrelevant of size or their service offering. In fact, small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) tend to be more open to vulnerabilities.

In this week’s article we share with you 6 best practices for using cloud services securely to help you keep your important data safe!

Use Strong Authentication

Using a strong authentication method such as multifactor authentication (MFA), can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access to your data.  Passwords are treated as the first line of defence to stop unauthorised access to accounts, but they can, as we know, be compromised. By implementing MFA, you can mitigate the risk of password theft.

What is MFA? This means using a method that requires you to provide multiple forms of authentication to gain access. An example of this is authorising using a password with a code sent to a mobile app, before gaining access to your cloud services. Although this is great, one of the best lines of defence you can create is by using passwordless technologies such as facial recognition or fingerprint scan. By enabling MFA, even if a cybercriminal gets hold of a username and password, they won’t be able to access your account if they can’t provide the other authentication factors.

Microsoft provides many of these technologies. For example, we recommend you check out Microsoft Authenticator, Windows Hello or FIDO2 Security keys.

Tip: For further information and best practices on creating a secure password, take a look at our previous article ‘Password Security Tips to Help You Stay Safe Online’ published last month.

Choosing an Appropriate Cloud Service Provider

One of the first steps to securing your data is ensuring you use a reputable cloud service provider. Look out for ones that are compliant with security standards and regulations (ISO 27001, PCI DSS and HIPAA). A good provider should offer you secure encryption, access controls and secure data storage.

Microsoft Cloud has several certifications making it a trusted choice for users.

Employee Training

It is imperative that your employees are aware of the security risks associated with storing data in cloud services and are trained on best practices. It is advisable to undertake regular security awareness training and protocols for reporting suspicious activity. This should form part of your company’s overall cybersecurity strategy.

Set Up Access Controls for Employees and Implement Encryption

Setting up access controls can help limit access to sensitive data. These controls should be set up from a viewpoint of allocating users the minimum access required by them in the business to perform their tasks. By adopting a role-based access control you can define access based on the person’s job responsibilities. This keep security tight and prevents unnecessary data from being shared or falling into the wrong hands.

A critical component of cloud security is encryption which involves encoding data in such a way that only authorised users within the business can access it. For example, in the Microsoft Cloud, data is always encrypted whilst in use, in transit or at rest.

Monitor Your Cloud Activity

Monitoring your cloud activity, such as reviewing cloud logs and audit trails can help prevent and detect any unauthorised access and security threats. Check out Microsoft Defender for Cloud which can assist with preventing, detecting, and responding to threats.

Putting in Place Backup and Recovery Options

Even though technology has advanced significantly there is always potential for error along the way. If your business experiences technical issues, then you need to ensure that your data is backed up. Losing crucial data in your organisation can lead to operational disruption, not to mention financial loss and potentially lost customers too! Backup systems today can provide you with the option to save many versions of your data, alongside recovery and peace of mind that even if you suffer a system crash, or you delete that important file by accident, you can always retrieve it back.

Final Thoughts

Securely storing and managing data is of the utmost importance to businesses, no matter their size. If you have any questions around ensuring all information is stored safely, access to sensitive data is restricted and sending data is secure, then please get in touch with us by emailing info@piblu.co.uk or calling us on 0161 388 8188. As experts in cybersecurity, we are here to chat through any questions you may have.