Cloud Security – How to Protect Your Business

With a wave or recent cyber-attacks on big name companies, staying safe online has become a big concern for business no matter what their size. For many, the cloud is a business solution which works for their business with cost savings and increased business agility is a popular choice for many. However with so much now stored on the cloud protecting your business online isn’t simply a task for IT managers, it’s essential knowledge for all cloud users.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Protect your business: use complex passwords, #encrypt files, and train staff say Ben Simpson”]

Use Complex Passwords

Using the same password is essentially giving a hacker free run

Passwords and security questions are often the gateway to our files and how the majority of our content is protected in the cloud. Ensuring your password is of one of the most complex standards is one of the key ways to protect your business.

Make sure you update your passwords periodically and never use the same password across all platforms. Using the same password is essentially giving a hacker free run, as they will often try out passwords on all devices.

You’ll often find that websites and programs are now built in with password strength analysers which will tell you how strong your password is. As a guide, keep your password to a minimum of 8 characters with a mix of lower and upper case letters, look to incorporate symbols and numbers where possible to keep it as complex as possible. Use 3 random words and a selection of numbers, then combine different variations to create a unique set of passwords you instantly remember. Try reversing words and swapping out letters for symbols and make sure your words don’t start with the same letter.

Encrypt Files

Some services and software packages automatically encrypt files for you, however you may wish to encrypt them yourself if you don’t have access to this service. Encryption can help in your quest to fight off cybercrime and keep important documents safe from hackers.

Encryption scrambles the data on your files

Encryption scrambles the data on your files which makes them unreadable to outside sources and protects data from being stolen and interpreted on other devices. You can encrypt your hard drive for free fairly easily and whilst you may think there is nothing of worth in the cloud or on your computer, files can easily end up in the wrong hands. 

If you use Windows, then installing BitLocker and selecting Trusted Platform Module alongside a PIN will ensure your drive encryption is of the highest security possible. If your computer is older than Windows 7 then you will only be able to use the USB authentication method.

Train Staff

Staff may be familiar with the ways to stay safe online, but educating them on cloud security can help to protect your business from any unwanted threats. We’re all used to protecting ourselves online, however some can have a relaxed approach in the workplace.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Mimecast found that 79% of employees use their personal email accounts for work” user=”comparethecloud” hashtags=”cybersec”]

With more employees encouraging staff to bring in their own devices to work from it’s essential to ensure any devices they are using, especially when accessing the cloud, are up to date with the latest anti-virus protection software.

A recent report by Mimecast, a security firm, found that 79% use their personal email accounts for work. What you may not realise is the personal information you share can end up being automatically backed up, mirrored and archived on systems and servers outside of your control, even after you’ve left the company.

Diarise regular meetings with staff to keep them up to date with the latest security solutions. Ensure staff use complex passwords on any devices they use or files they are working on and make sure they lock devices when away from their work space.

Use a Verification Process

If you’re concerned that accessing files is too easy on the cloud then deploy a verification process across your devices to add an extra layer of protection. If someone can get past your password then they will soon have access to your data, so adding an extra step will help add another barrier.

Enabling a two-step verification process will require you to input two different pieces of information, for example password or answering a security question, before you can access files. This could also be a code that’s generated and sent to another device which you may need to input before access is granted.

Whilst this process can be time consuming, it can save you the hassle of having to clear up a data and cloud breach later on down the line. 

Finally, always keep a back-up of files. It’s always important to keep an extra back up on file, so if anything does go missing you haven’t lost all that hard work in case something does go awry.

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