Companies collect vast volumes of data from customers. Often, the conversation revolves around harnessing the data for business purposes, but rarely do we talk about safeguarding the data. Today, we see reports of mishandled data and breaches every day. Businesses ought to step and implement policies for addressing data risks.
One of the most effective ways of keeping your customer data safe is shifting from on-premise data storage to cloud storage. The move guarantees cost savings, scalability, improved security, and greater efficiency. Arguably, the most significant benefit that the cloud offers to businesses is data security.
Two parties are responsible for ensuring the safety of your customer data; you and the cloud service provider that you choose. When describing their cloud security strategy, service providers often promote their shared responsibility model. In this case, your service provider’s responsibility is to secure the cloud, whereas your responsibility is to secure customer data in the cloud. Therefore, your customers’ data can only be safe in the cloud if you play your part.
Most compliance certifications, including SOC and ISO/IEC 27000, require you to prove the infallibility of your data security measures. Even after opting for cloud storage solutions, you can never be too sure that your data is entirely safe. Nonetheless, there are several protective measures that you can take to safeguard your data. Here are some tips for securing your data on the cloud.
Don’t Store Sensitive Customer Data on the Cloud
In as much as the cloud is one of the safest places to store your data, you’re advised against storing sensitive data there. Ideally, you should keep sensitive data way from the virtual world, however safe it may seem. The concept of privacy doesn’t apply to the Internet. With reported cases of identity theft rising every year, you should avoid storing sensitive customer data such as passwords and credit card details on the cloud.
Have a Strong Password Policy
It’s a no-brainer that data security starts with implementing strong passwords that cannot get bypassed. Unfortunately, not many people follow this warning. Using the same password for all your accounts, including your cloud storage account, could be a real trap. Besides using passwords that are not easy to memorize, change your passwords regularly. Ideally, your passwords should get embedded with numbers and non-standard characters that are not easy to guess.
Even after storing your customer data on the cloud, you should have it encrypted. It will be impossible for hackers to access the content of the encrypted files without a password even if they intrude on your cloud storage account. Likewise, consider using an encrypted cloud service.
Besides storage and backup, most cloud service providers provide local encryption and decryption of files. Therefore, no one will be able to access sensitive customer data, including server administrators and third-party service providers.
Have a Local Backup
One of the most important things to consider when managing customer data is to have backups. Even after storing data on the cloud, you should have electronic copies of the data. In doing so, you will still be able to access your data during instances such as poor Internet connection.
Use Antivirus Software
There’s so much that you can do to safeguard your customer data, but it can still get compromised if you don’t have antivirus software in place. Sometimes, the problem is not with cloud security, but with the system that you used to log into your cloud storage account. Hackers can have a field day accessing your account if proper protections are not in place. Viruses can provide penetration points for hackers. To seal such loopholes, consider installing antivirus software.
Regularly Test Your Security Measures
Even after storing data on the cloud, you shouldn’t assume that your files are entirely secure. If possible, hire certified ethical hackers who will test your security stance to determine how safe your files are on the cloud. These assessments ought to be done both on the cloud and on your on-site data storage systems. If you can gain unauthorized entry to your data, it means that someone else can also access the data. Assessing your security measures helps you pinpoint and seal areas of weaknesses.
Educate Your Employees
The safety of customer data stored on the cloud is only as good as how enlightened your employees are. Educating your employees about data security in the cloud goes a long way in ensuring the safety of your data. While at it, you should emphasize the significance of using strong passwords and how to log into the company’s cloud storage accounts securely.
You don’t need extensive cloud computing skills to safeguard your customer data on the cloud. You can always outsource someone to manage your company’s cloud operations on your behalf. As a business owner, you should keep in mind that information security is your responsibility to your customers.