How to use the cloud safely

Written by Nigel Simpkins

The cloud is playing an increasingly prominent role in all of our lives. Whether we are streaming content from Netflix or enabling our workers and clients to access our corporate systems remotely, cloud technologies have been transformative for a number of industries. If your business is embracing the opportunities offered by the cloud, it’s important you do so with an awareness of the security issues it raises.

Educate Your Employees

The key to ensuring effective cybersecurity policies in any organization is to make sure that everyone understands the role that they have to play. A common mistake among businesses is to leave all of their cybersecurity responsibilities in the hands of their IT department. In actual fact, social engineering attacks are increasingly targeting workers who have nothing to do with the IT department.

By educating all of your employees about the most common forms of social engineering attack, you will greatly reduce the likelihood of your business falling victim to an attack.

Formulate a Data Backup Plan

Many businesses use cloud storage to back up their data, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is a perfect system. There is always the potential for physical servers to become damaged. And even if mirrors exist, it is still possible that an attacker might access your account and delete sensitive files, causing them to vanish everywhere.

A comprehensive data backup strategy should include the cloud, but it should not rely upon it entirely. You don’t necessarily need to go as far as cold storage, but this is always an option for the most security-conscious.

Work With Experienced Cybersecurity Professionals

Taking your business into the cloud will throw up a whole host of unique challenges, challenges that you might not be prepared for. If you are planning to deploy cloud-based applications, then you will need to establish a clear policy for managing the flow of client data and ensuring there are safeguards in place to identify any potential breaches.

SaaS is still a relatively new field. As such, the number of experienced security professionals who understand the nuances of data security in the cloud is also relatively low when compared to more well-established IT fields. This article from mcafee goes into more detail about the main data security issues facing businesses that operate in the cloud, as well as how they can be addressed by cybersecurity professionals.

Test Everything

Never deploy a new cloud app without thoroughly testing it beforehand. If the app is going to be handling sensitive data, especially data that is covered by HIPAA, it is imperative that you ensure everything is adequately protected. Ideally, you should perform a live test of the system using dummy data. Make sure that it is as close to impossible for a malicious actor to get their hands on any data flowing through your systems.

Using the cloud safely depends on everyone in your business understanding just how important security is. By getting your whole team involved and ensuring that you have a coherent strategy to present to them, you can keep your business’s cloud activities as secure as possible.