The cloud has transformed the way businesses and individuals store and access data. Since 2013, the number of cloud computing apps has tripled. While cloud solutions are convenient and scalable, security is still a concern.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take today to protect your data in today’s cloud environment.
How to Protect Your Data in the Cloud: Tips from a Cybersecurity Company in Miami
Choose a Cloud Service That Uses Encryption
To protect your data from cybercriminals, choose a cloud service that encrypts files both on the cloud itself and your computer. Encryption keeps your data safe from criminals and third parties. Even if they gain access to your account, they won’t be able to view your files or data because they are encrypted.
Encryption uses algorithms to encode data. Without the right key, the data is utterly useless to anyone viewing it. Only authorized users can decode the data.
Cloud service providers use encryption to protect:
- Data in transit: Data that moves to and from cloud-based apps.
- Data at rest: Data that is stored on the cloud network.
Reputable cloud service providers will employ basic security measures, including encryption. But it’s still important to verify that your service provider offers this protection.
Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords can go a long way in keeping your account safe from cybercriminals. A large percentage of cyberattacks are due to weak passwords.
But what makes a password strong? Strong passwords have:
- At least 15 characters
- Do not include identifying information, like your name or birthday
- A combination of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers and special characters
Passwords should also be updated frequently, and, ideally, be unique to your cloud account.
Avoid Storing Sensitive Data in the Cloud
Even with encryption and a strong password, there’s a chance that your data may be exposed at some point. There’s no surefire way to protect an account from a cyberattack. For this reason, it’s best to avoid storing files that contain sensitive information, such as:
- Your Social Security number
- Copies of your ID
- Financial statements
Any photos or files that you consider private should also be kept off of the cloud.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
If you have the option, enable two-factor authentication on your cloud account. Two-factor authentication adds an extra step to the sign-in process, but it also adds an extra layer of security for your account.
Each time anyone tries to sign in to your account, they will need to provide certain information as well as your password.
Two-factor authentication may ask for:
- A PIN number
- A code that is sent to your phone through text or email
- Answering a secret question
Some service providers have a special authenticator app that you can use to secure your account.
Don’t Access Cloud Data on Public Wi-Fi
In general, it’s best to limit your use of public Wi-Fi, but it’s especially important to avoid accessing any cloud data while on these unsecured networks.
You have control over your home network’s security, but you have no control over a public Wi-Fi network’s security.
To protect your data, only access the cloud when you’re on a secure network.
These are some of the most important steps you can take to protect your data that is stored on the cloud. Encryption, stored passwords and simple common sense can go a long way in keeping your data safe.