In this digital age, cloud based services are one of the current trends. As most businesses in various industries migrate to cloud based systems, those who have yet to do so should consider cloud adoption, the security concerns that come with it and finding a trustworthy cloud service provider. (1)
If you’re planning to migrate your business operations to the cloud, it generally involves outsourcing an aspect of the IT operations to cloud services providers. Business owners are apprehensive about the significant change and the loss of control. However, regardless of the cost and resource constraints, small businesses should invest in secure cloud based systems to maintain a competitive edge, especially in a highly competitive sector. (2)
As cybersecurity threats continue to rise, they can put any cloud-based system at risk of data breach and loss. Such concerns have made some businesses nervous about handing their critical data to a cloud provider. However, in nearly every case, the cloud isn’t the problem, but how the cloud is used often results in problems along the way.
Here are several of the best practices in managing cloud-based systems to ensure a decent level of protection for both your business and client data.
Create a data governance strategy
A data governance framework could be useful for determining who has access to and uses specific data and defining the security and integrity standards and protocols.
A solid framework is the best way to ensure several layers are in place before a potential breach can occur. The method can significantly reduce the likelihood of a breach in your cloud-based system in the first place.
Establishing a management team comprised of key IT department members and a defined set of protocols on employee accessibility levels can help you achieve this. Moreover, the approach ensures that employees only have access to the information they need to do their jobs.
Use a multi-cloud approach
Cloud technology is a collection of services provided by cloud service providers that you can use in conjunction to meet a variety of business needs. Remember that your current business needs might differ a few years from now. Once you shift to a multi-cloud strategy, it ensures a more modern approach to availability and an extra layer of redundancy on top of the current infrastructure. (3)
Use strong passwords
Passwords typically serve as the weak link in data breaches. The most effective strategy is to require your employees to use long, complex passwords that include lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and special symbols.
Two-factor or multi-factor authentication might be necessary when accessing sensitive data. Aside from the standard login, employees need to provide another factor to authenticate their identity. Generally, it can be a unique code that a separate application, device, or service generates. (4)
Utilise protection software and firewalls
Making the most of security software, such as antivirus or antimalware programs, can help add a layer of protection and firewalls to detect and prevent infiltration. Remember that cloud based solutions allow easy access to various devices. With this in mind, each device accessing your cloud-based system requires proper protection.
When it comes to cloud computing in business, firewall solutions are also an important element to protect your company with an extra layer of defence. Depending on the firewall solution you’ll invest in, some perimeter solutions will evaluate the contents of a file packet to determine the file type and its source, integrity and destination. If you have one that pays close attention to detail, it’ll go a long way in quelling potential threats.
Make sure you have a backup and recovery plan
It’s critical to understand what happens to your applications if there’s a service outage or a data breach. Being ready for anything unexpected and setting up regular backups is a task to prioritise. Thus, it’s crucial to create a strategy for retrieving backups and testing them. Performing regular backups will only be helpful if the backups are genuinely successful in their purpose. (5)
Backup is necessary to avoid inconvenience to your business operations due to long-term service outages, natural calamities or data breaches.
Provide regular training in security best practices and awareness of the latest cybersecurity threats
In most scenarios, the inherent risk in cloud-based systems typically stems from human error. Most businesses that use a cloud-based system have experienced data leaks due to human error, putting their business data at risk. Although the cloud infrastructure stays secure, your workforce should undergo regular training on security best practices and awareness of the current cybersecurity threats.
Generally, basic training should include educating your workforce in identifying hacking and phishing methods.
Proper management should always be a priority when your business operates on a cloud-based system. Considering some of the best practices for managing one will guide you in making the necessary adjustments to make operations seamless and highly efficient in the long run.
- “Study of Cloud Computing and its Issues: A Review”, Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280829847_Study_of_Cloud_Computing_and_its_Issues_A_Review
- “Why Adopting Cloud Is Still a Challenge?—A Review on Issues and Challenges for Cloud Migration in Organizations”, Source: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-13-5934-7_35
- “Multi-cloud Platform-as-a-service Model, Functionalities and Approaches”, Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187705091632097X
- “Data Security in Cloud Computing Using Three-Factor Authentication”, Source: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-15-2612-1_33
- “Backup for cloud and disaster recovery for consumers and SMBs”, Source: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6163671