Technology has largely evolved since its inception. All aspects of technology, from communication, storage, and data transmission, have changed to more efficient and cost-effective forms. Storage is one aspect that has dramatically changed over the years.
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Storage technologies have evolved from the use of hard disks, SSDs, etc., to the use of cloud storage. Cloud storage entails the storage of information and data on remote cloud servers hosted by enterprise cloud services.
Cloud storage allows for convenient and flexible access to cloud data and resources from anywhere with an internet connection. However, cloud security risks are a growing concern with the risk of data theft or access by hackers. The number of data breaches and hacking attempts rises by the day as data and information become more valuable.
The increased number of data breaches and hacking attempts instills fear in many businesses and people regarding the use of cloud storage and the associated cloud computing risks. However, there are effective methods for cloud security posture management.
In this article, we will discuss some best practices for protecting your cloud data from hackers.
1. Understanding the Cloud Security Risks
Understanding cloud security risks and vulnerabilities is crucial to protect your data in the cloud. Identify the potential threats in your cloud environment and make sure your employees are trained to identify and isolate a security breach.
The common threats aimed at compromising data in the cloud include:
- Phishing attacks – Hackers use fraudulent emails or websites to trick users into disclosing sensitive information.
- Malware – Malicious codes and other vulnerabilities are used to infiltrate a cloud system and steal or corrupt data.
- Ransomware – Hackers encrypt a victim’s data and demand a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key.
- DDOS attacks – targeted distributed denial-of-service to disrupt your web traffic.
- Insider threats – An employee or contractor with access to the data misuses privileges.
2. Context-Based Security Audits
Context-based security auditing in cloud computing and storage refers to the process of evaluating the security of cloud-based systems and services. The security is evaluated based on specific usage and deployment context. When using cloud storage, threat detection is an important feature to have.
While it is important to have context-based security audits and threat detection on cloud storage systems, they are more important when using hybrid cloud environments. Managing your cloud data in hybrid cloud environments can be a difficult task because you have to monitor threats and data breaches on various cloud platforms and also deploy measures to counter cloud security risks on all platforms.
For increased security in hybrid cloud environments, dedicated security platforms can help you analyze your cloud storage provider. The cloud security platforms will analyze the cloud environment for security weak points and offer prioritization and the remediation of attack paths for DevOps teams.
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3. Two-Factor Authentication
Authentication refers to the process that a computer system or program uses to validate an identity claim. When accessing data or information on a cloud platform, one has to validate their identity. Normally, this is done through the use of passwords, pins, or security keys.
When using a password, pin, etc to authenticate an identity claim, without any other method, your data can easily be compromised. To mitigate the risk of using a single authentication, two-factor authentication was introduced. During authentication, one is required to produce either of these three data categories:
- A known phrase or clause, for example, passwords.
- Something they have, for example, key cards, password keys, etc.
- Something they are, for example, an iris scan.
When using two-factor authentication (2FA), the user is required to provide two out of the three authentication data categories. This means that once you input your password, you can be required to scan a key card or iris also to complete authentication.
Adding 2FA to your data and information stored in the cloud reduces the chances for a hacker to access your data or information, even if they have your password.
4. Defensive Computing
When using cloud storage, one aspect that people fail to keep in mind is the common security precautions that one should take when using internet services. Defensive computing is the practice of safe ways of using computing resources to avoid problems.
When using cloud storage services, one of the most common rookie mistakes by people is saving access passwords on their devices. This commonly happens on smartphones. When you save passwords to access data on the cloud on the phone, your cloud data is at risk if a person gains access to your phone.
Another common defensive computing mistake concerning cloud storage is the reuse of passwords. Over the past years, many companies have been hacked and user data has been stolen. If your data is among those stolen by hackers, your online accounts can all be at risk if you reuse your passwords.
5. Penetration Testing
When using cloud storage or cloud computing services, one should never be confident that their data is completely secure. This is because the attack methods used by hackers continuously evolve to bypass the setup security mechanisms by cloud service providers.
When using cloud storage, you can opt to test the security of your cloud storage. This can be done by an in-house professional or by a white hat hacker. White hat hackers try to hack into the cloud computing platform. This helps identify existing loopholes or those that have come up with the service’s evolution.
Continuous security tests on cloud computing resources help you stay ahead of hackers. This helps ensure your data and information on the cloud stay safe.
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Cloud data may contain sensitive and confidential business information that must be kept secure by all means. If unauthorized third parties gain access to this data, the data may be used for malicious purposes, such as identity theft, financial fraud, and data breaches. Additionally, data leaks and security breaches can cause loss of revenue, damage to reputation, and legal repercussions.
Protecting cloud data is critical for compliance with industry regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR. Overall, protecting cloud data is essential to ensure the security of your organization and customers. Ensure that you have strong passwords and two-factor authentication enabled. Update your software and encrypt sensitive data and files. Grant access only to trusted individuals and regularly review access logs. Also, invest in a reputable Cloud Security solution to help you monitor your cloud environment from a centralized console.