q Best Practices for Data Security in Cloud Storage Systems

A Complete Guide to Ensuring Data Security in the Cloud Storage System

by | Last updated on Mar 15, 2024 | Published on Feb 5, 2019 | Document Conversion / Scanning Services

Almost all businesses are now embracing digital change and have been implementing digitization with the support of data conversion services. Digital technology has streamlined and enhanced the workflow efficiency in organizations. Today, along with document conversion, organizations are adopting cloud storage facility for storing valuable data. Companies collect more information than ever before about their customers, employees and other aspects, and crucial data exchanged through the Internet brings enormous value to companies and individuals. Customers also submit their credit card details and other personal information on the Internet. All these data can be stored in the cloud but necessary steps should be taken to ensure data security in cloud storage. If such sensitive data reaches the wrong hands, then it can have devastating outcomes for businesses and their consumers.

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Importance of Data Security and Cloud Storage System

Cloud storage is a service model where the data is maintained, managed, backed up remotely and made available to users over a network (typically the Internet). It ensures both visibility and protection of data. The cloud storage trend has developed significantly over the past few years and provides bigger storage capacities for businesses to maintain their records for easy accessibility. It provides a large, secure and accessible platform that is cost-effective and allows businesses to archive important and sensitive documents. Cloud storage is often used as a backup plan by businesses by providing a second copy of important files. The remote servers can be accessed over the internet via cloud, and these servers are managed and maintained by cloud service providers.

Moving data to the cloud system does not mean that you ignore data governance and data security. In much of the cloud system data access controls, data usage auditing and security analytics capabilities are limited.

In 2022, Republican National Committee (RNC) leak exposed the voting data of around 200 million US citizens involved in the use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud system. The data was available to any hacker because the demographic data was unprotected. The fault was not with AWS but the consulting firm hired by RNC to do the analysis. They did not password protect the data in the AWS data store. So, when primary security principles are not followed it can lead to data leak. The cloud provider does not update or do anything with the password or its access. It is the responsibility of the enterprise to ensure the safety of their data.

Data Security Challenges in Cloud Storage

When more enterprises are shifting to cloud storage system for better flexibility, it increases security challenges. The cloud is a lucrative target because of the intellectual property, mission critical trade secrets and personal information it contains. This attracts cyber criminals to the cloud system.

  • With growing data theft, Google recently announced “shielded VMs” to protect cloud-based data. Other cloud service providers have introduced new cloud security strategies to prevent hostile attacks. Enterprises often believe that the responsibility of securing data also moves to the cloud storage providers. However, it is important for businesses to take some steps to strengthen data security and prevent potential data leaks. When businesses rely fully on cloud service providers for data security, there will be a lack of preparedness on the side of the provider and it can lead to data breach. With poor data security measures, your IT team will have no control over the data which is risky. Businesses should have a strong plan to leverage cloud-based IT and processing resources and must extensively analyze and evaluate the risks associated with using disruptive technologies like cloud computing.
  • Traditional IT security measures are no longer relevant in online network security. When enterprises are planning to move their data to the cloud, they should first consider how they have secured their data on on-premise servers as well as the checks and balances they have implemented to protect data and control and manage data access. Lack of knowledge regarding cloud security settings can lead to misconfiguration.
  • One of the most common reasons for data theft is keeping data open on public cloud platforms. Businesses should make it a practice to keep data encrypted on the cloud. Encryption of data can prevent data theft to a great extent.
  • Another common challenge is that employees use free file sharing and cloud storage services that are not approved by the organization and may not meet the basic security standards. So, employees can put data at risk due to carelessness.

Some of the Biggest Cyber Security Breaches

  • Equifax: This is one of the worst data breaches of 2017. Equifax is one of the largest credit agencies in the United States. Hackers were able to access social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses of 143 million people. 209,000 consumers’ credit card data was exposed.
  • Yahoo: In September 2016, Yahoo reported two major data breaches of users’ account data to hackers. Initially over 1 billion user accounts were exposed, and Yahoo later revealed that 3 billion of its users were impacted. The breaches knocked an estimated $350 million off Yahoo’s sale price.
  • Dropbox: In 2012, Dropbox announced their data breach and after four years it was found that hackers tapped into more than 68 million user accounts including email addresses and passwords. Those stolen credentials reportedly made their way to a dark web marketplace – the price for them was bitcoins.

How to Ensure Data Security in Cloud Storage Systems

Tips to Ensure Data Security in Cloud System

  • The first and foremost step is to ensure that the cloud storage service provider that you sign up with has rigid policies.
  • Use security tools to find the gap between the cloud provider’s security measures and the security measures that you might have. Understand that if the VMs or underpinning software and OS are vulnerable, all applications and data hosted therein could be compromised.
  • Implement comprehensive encryption at the file level forms to ensure safety of your data. Do not stick to the basic security measures that your cloud service provider offers. Use an advanced and all-encompassing encryption solution to encrypt data before uploading to the cloud.
  • Two major cloud service providers Microsoft and Amazon have already launched their own credentials management tools that ensure legitimate access to sensitive data and keep intruders out.
  • Make sure to secure end users’ devices that access cloud-based resources with sophisticated endpoint security. Use firewall solutions to protect your network perimeter, especially if you are subscribing to an infrastructure as a service or a platform as a service model.
  • Cloud Security Alliance offers useful guidelines on data security in cloud storage. So, follow the guidelines to ensure safety of data.
  • Other measures:
    • Background checks of employees
    • User Access control
    • Inspect user actions
    • Keep an eye on suspicious behavior
    • Train your employees on data security

Take action now to secure your organization’s valuable data assets.

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Do you want to enhance the safety of your data?

Read our blog post on Enhancing Data Security and Compliance: The Significance of Document Scanning.

Any organization with critical data in the cloud should take the primary responsibility for data security. Even though cloud storage is prone to data breaches, the demand for cloud storage is still expected to rise. The cloud storage system is safer than on-premises deployments but don’t think that it is completely safe. The above-mentioned guidelines help enterprises to have a safe and secure cloud storage system. Even when using outsourced solutions such as data conversion services that assist in converting all paper-based data into digital format that can be later uploaded on the cloud system, ensure that maximum security measures are in place. Choose a professional cloud storage system that can ensure utmost safety for your valuable data.

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