Business Technology Experts

Five Steps to Securing Data in the Cloud

November 3rd, 2016 by admin

The Cloud. Everyone talks about it. It seems like everyone is using it. But does everyone really understand what it is? We know it's supposed to be the answer to all our computing storage concerns, but chances are most of us can't explain it. Since nearly everyone is using it, even unknowingly (think Instagram or Google Drive), here's a quick overview:

Once upon a time, you would compile a data sheet and save it on your computer. It could live there safely until your computer's storage reached its limit. At which point, you had to either clean out your folders or transfer files to an external drive, like a CD.

The cloud is like your computer's hard drive, but data is saved on a remote server hosted on the internet. This network of servers can be accessed from anywhere, usually providing either service or storage functions. Again, you've utilized systems like Evernote or Dropbox, then you have used the cloud.

There are various types of cloud systems, but many businesses will implement a private cloud through an IT service provider. A dedicated cloud system is a cost savings over hardware that will depreciate over time. It also provides more flexibility with updated software and expanded storage capacity. Especially as most businesses shift to "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD), the cloud is a necessity to maintain streamlined processes.

There have been plenty of headlines about cyber attacks compromising data security. It's a common and valid concern when you store sensitive or confidential information in a cloud-based system. But, you aren't at the mercy of hackers trolling the dark web, looking for an entry to your data. There are several things you can do as a business owner or manager to proactively make the most out of your cloud system Here are five things you can do maximize your cloud security:

  1. Know your data: Not everything belongs in the cloud. According to Secure Speak Management Data Security, nearly two thirds of IT and security providers say their clients don't have a strong handle on what information is passing through their system and how it is being used. "Defining types of data in use and prescribing the appropriate measures for each type is an important step in data protection."
  1. Strict access management: That's a fancy way of saying avoid human error. Have multiple levels of passwords and security clearance. Passwords and employee compliance are essential, as is ongoing employee training.
  1. Layer your security: There is no one size fits all and achieving complete security is a moving target. Your IT provider can help you build a layered tool kit of security – firewalls, intrusion detection, encryption, etc. – that keeps your business steps ahead of a hacker.
  1. Stay informed: If you know the latest threats being reported in your industry, you can proactively work with your IT provider to avoid being compromised. Consider setting a Google Alert for your particular industry, tagged with cyber-security in order to receive the latest news.
  1. Chose cloud providers carefully: Most businesses are more concerned about lost data than hacked data. Both are serious issues best avoided when you work with an expert. An IT service provider will conduct regular tests of software updates. They will also make sure there is backup support in place should an unexpected catastrophe occur. IT partners can help you determine a detailed "filing" system, which provides important layers to your security. As part of that layering, an IT provider will establish and maintain internal levels of security — not everyone in your company needs access to every file.

Start building your security toolkit for your SE Michigan business. Contact Dan Heimler, Sales Director at UTEC or call (734) 434-5900.

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