Securing the Cloud – How to Keep your Cloud Storage Safe and Secure

In a world where cyberattacks can occur on an internal network and server at any time, cloud storage has proven to be one of the most reliable methods to store data away from the original location. Cloud storage is a convenient and flexible data storage service that hundreds of companies and organizations rely on to store critical data.

Securing the Cloud

What is cloud storage?

If you have used google drive to save and send documents, Dropbox to save your pictures, or iTunes to download your favorite music, you have interacted with a cloud storage service. Other forms of cloud storage services include online streaming services and email sending services like Gmail and Yahoo.

Cloud storage is a service that allows users to store their data on host servers referred to as cloud servers. You can store any digital document on the cloud, including music and video files, photos, and other documents. It is also a convenient way to back up your files.

There are two types of cloud storage available:

  • Public cloud storage – this cloud service allows different people to share a hosting space, making it an affordable option.
  • Private cloud storage – is an ideal choice for sensitive data, mainly used by organizations interested in saving data in remote servers only accessible to their organizations.

Hybrid cloud storage is slowly becoming common among businesses, comprising a blend of public and private cloud storage services. Good examples include Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services.

How cloud storage works

Cloud storage servers are owned and managed by cloud storage companies, giving you paid access to your data over the internet. Once you subscribe to a cloud storage service, you are given unique login credentials that you can use whenever you need to log in to the server to download or upload files.

Anyone with login credentials can access your server. With cloud storage services, users can collaborate on projects, share and view files over the internet.

Most cloud storage service providers offer different packages with different cloud space options to meet different user needs. With your digital space, you can store anything you want, from personal files to work-related files.

Cloud storage continues to solve user data storage space needs while offering a wide range of benefits, not without strife.

While it is one of the most reliable storage solutions available in 2021, there is still a lot that can be done to enhance cloud storage security. As hacking attempts continue to rise, data safety on the cloud has become a growing concern among users.

To ensure your data remains safe on the cloud, you first need to understand the types of threats you are likely to face. Here is everything you need to know about cloud storage risks and how to secure your devices and servers.

Security Threats facing cloud service users

DoS (Denial of service) attacks

As one of the most common types of ransomware attacks against organizations, DDoS attacks are a huge security threat to any company. With hundreds of organizations relying on the cloud to do business, a successful DDoS attack against a cloud service infrastructure can severely impact the business.

Unauthorized access

The ability to free up space in the company network while still having access to important data on the cloud is the main reason cloud storage is preferred by most companies. With all company data backed up on the cloud, the risk of data loss is mitigated in case the local network crashes.

The downside of data stored in the cloud is that it is outside the safe parameters of your company network. This means that anyone with login credentials can easily access it. Therefore, if a local computer with access is compromised, a hacker can easily find access to your company server using the stolen credentials.

Unauthorized access to cloud data is mostly due to weak security protocols or misconfiguration and compromised login credentials obtained from a social engineering attack.

Misconfiguration

Misconfigurations of security settings on cloud storage service is a common security flaw that causes serious data breaches in cloud storage. As one of the most common cloud storage security threats, most companies fall prey to this type of security breach for failing to use foolproof cloud storage security management protocols for their infrastructure.

For cloud storage to be usable, it is created with features that make it easily accessible by multiple people sharing the same login credentials. Without the proper security protocol, it is difficult for an organization to guarantee that the data they save on the cloud is only accessible to authorized persons. Without total control or visibility of the cloud storage infrastructure, it is essential to use additional security measures provided by the cloud service.

Another common cause of misconfiguration on a cloud server is because most companies use cloud solutions from different vendors and do not fully understand how cloud infrastructure security works. Since different vendors have various security controls for their service, the chances of misconfiguration and oversight are higher, which leaves data on the server vulnerable.

Account hijacking

With phishing attacks at an all-time high, account hijacking has become a growing concern for cloud storage users. Through phishing attempts, hackers can get their hands on login credentials, which they use to compromise cloud storage services.

Once a user account is hijacked, the attacker has full access to the cloud server and data saved on the server. They can choose to hold the data at ransom or sell it on the dark web to interested buyers, mostly competitors. With this data, an attacker can completely paralyze operations in your company and even commit financial fraud using your company’s data.

The best way to avoid falling victim to these cloud storage threats is to adopt the best cloud storage safety measures.

How users can secure their cloud storage device

Use strong login credentials and protocols

When it comes to the security of your cloud storage server, you need to apply all security measures you employ to protect your computers and local networks. Your login credentials should include a strong password that is hard to crack. Using a password-managing application will make it easier for you to create a unique password for your cloud server.

On top of username and passwords, you should also activate 2FA for your cloud account. Today, most cloud storage services support 2FA. When you enable 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), anyone wanting to access your cloud server will have to produce a secret code sent to their phones to bypass the protocol.

Having a strong password and 2FA can deter any hacker’s attempts to access your data on the cloud.

Use data encryption

It is critical to use a VPN to secure network data sharing. Data encryption is an effective way of ensuring that any data uploads and downloads are secured with encryption. With a VPN, all data transferred to the cloud or from the cloud will appear as jumbled to any online spies or third parties, making it useless to steal.

A VPN is also an essential tool for data sharing in your local network. It can reduce the chances of data loss even when a machine on the network is compromised. It also ensures the security of your local data even when your network is compromised.

Today, most cloud storage services offer data encryption services to ensure that data remains unreadable to third parties even when on the cloud.

Audit folder sharing access

Since cloud storage makes it possible to collaborate on projects and share files with other people, it is easy to forget to change the access settings once a project is complete, putting your data at risk of unauthorized access.

Ensure you regularly check for sharing access on your account to ensure that only the right people have access to the server. Auditing your share options will ensure data cannot be shared without permission and that accessibility is only available to relevant members of your group.

Verify and update configurations settings

Once you subscribe to a cloud storage service, you need to ensure that your service is properly configured. The best way to ensure the vendor secures your account is to ask them or ask for legal assurance to guarantee reliable configuration.

If you are new to cloud storage systems, it helps to take your time to understand how the system works to be able to identify key vulnerability points. With this information, you are better placed to upgrade your security protocol to counter possible breaches.

Turn on account alerts

Most cloud services come with alert features as part of their security protocol. When this feature is activated, it sends alerts to the client whenever there is suspicious or abnormal activity on their account. With this alert, you will know when there is an unauthorized share, download, or removal of data from your cloud account.

Conclusion

Taking your time to understand how cloud storage works and learning about common threats is the best way to ensure you can protect yourself. There is no better time to assess your cloud service security than now. It is a crucial step in ensuring the safety of your data on the cloud.

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