secure business data cloud
Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Over the last year alone, there were a total of 1,579 data breaches that were publicly disclosed, with many more that went unreported, according to a Small Biz Trends article. As more businesses embrace cloud storage, data security is becoming an increasing concern. SMEs and large organizations alike have been increasing their use of services like Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and others to store their data online. While data storage and management vendors are doing their best to stay one step ahead of security threats, businesses must remain prepared to deal with today’s dynamic cybersecurity risks.

But the question is: if you’ve opted to store your business data in the cloud, how secure is it? This article offers some insights into data security in the cloud:

Who Holds the Keys to Your Data?

Commercial cloud storage providers encode each user’s data with specific encryption keys. Without access to this key, no one can access the data. But who holds the keys to your data? In most cases, vendors store the keys themselves, letting their data storage systems see and process your business data. Allowing your data storage and management needs to be handled entirely by a third-party solution gives you additional benefits like seamless indexing of data for future searches and access control for user logins. This is more convenient than letting users have the keys themselves, but it can be less secure.

Just like your everyday keys, if someone else has access to the keys, your data may be stolen or misused, especially if the data storage solution you’re using has flaws in their security practices, making your cloud data vulnerable. That’s why data storage experts recommend that businesses opt for a 3-2-1 backup strategy: where you have one copy of your data in your everyday devices like PCs, laptops and smartphones, a second copy in external data storage devices like memory cards and a third copy in online cloud storage.

Allowing Users to Keep Data Control

Data privacy has become a sensitive issue, with more businesses opting for greater control over the use and access of their data in the cloud. A few vendors in the market like SpiderOak and Mega allow users to keep data control in their hands. This means that they can upload and download files through cloud storage applications, with full encryption functions. These applications allow users to keep the encryption keys to themselves. While this might be a good option for small businesses that are not yet ready to hand-over their data to enterprise-level management solutions, this option comes with its own security risks. For instance files or data could be hacked or compromised before you upload them to the cloud or after being downloaded.

Protecting Your Valuable Data

To maximize your cloud storage security, it’s best to combine the various features of the different data storage and management approaches offered. For instance, before you upload business files to the cloud, you can first encrypt them with a separate encryption software, then upload the enclosed files. To gain access to these files again, login to the cloud service, download your files and decrypt them yourself. Adding an additional layer of security like using authenticated encryption to identify if your files have been modified since they were created is also recommended. With the need for flexibility and scalability in data security management, it’s important to choose trusted open-source cloud storage software providers that allow you to customize your data storage needs.

With the ever-evolving data security risks, it’s easy to see why cloud storage solutions are becoming a popular option for secure data access, control and management. The question of whether or not your data is in safe hands all boils down to the steps you take to minimize the risks of compromising your sensitive business information.

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