With the numbers of cloud users escalating every year and people placing their complete trust in cloud storage, it has indeed become important to know ways to secure your data and applications in the cloud. Whether it is financial documents or ID scans or family albums you will store them in the cloud. There are really no universal laws regarding data security in the cloud; laws in the realm of information privacy mainly consist of proposals and declarations but these are not binding legally. You can make use of the following tips to secure data in the cloud:

        

It may be a good idea to avoid storing very sensitive data in the cloud. You can choose to keep critical information far away from this virtual world.

When you are not clear about how the storage works, you should carefully review the user agreements. You must be aware of the risks of choosing to store applications in the cloud and this is why you need to understand the vendor’s Service Level Agreement.

It is important to attach a lot of value to passwords. Incidentally, all passwords may be cracked within 90 seconds; this shows how frequently accounts can be hacked. It is also a great blunder to use the same password for all your services like cloud storage accounts, Facebook accounts etc. This is because all the login and password related data will come to your inbox.

Before you store data in the cloud, it may be wise to construct a threat model for every application. You can identify the potential threats, regardless of whether these actually take place. You can then define the usage scenarios where such threats are likely to occur.

Encrypting the data and applications is the best and most effective way to protect it. Generally speaking, you create a file and use software for creating a password for this file after which you move the file to the cloud. No other person can view this file unless he knows the password. It is advisable to use an encrypted cloud service provider. You will come across many vendors which will offer local decryption-encryption of files besides data storage and data backups. This means that even the service providers themselves will not have access to your file.

Since chances of errors are very high when you are forced to remember multiple passwords for different applications, you can have an Identity Federation with User Directory of the organization. This will leverage existing authentication and make sure that only users having authority to connect to this organization can connect to the provider.

You can also select the risk tolerance level when you use services which depend on a multi-tenancy model. The selection is based upon your understanding of this model and the shared technological weaknesses. In other words, you should be prepared that your business may be exposed to threats when any other client’s security gets compromised.

You need to define and implement incident response procedures which can help your organization. These methods have to be agreed upon by your vendor and when you have this in place; all the shared responsibilities between the vendor and you will be clearly laid down. This also means that all such incidents will be handled in a timely fashion.

You can secure your cloud applications against hijacking or security breaches from external attackers by using strong authentication tools. You can place extra authentication measures like two-factor authentication or one-time password when users connect from both managed and unmanaged devices through hotspots and public WiFis.

When data is accidentally deleted or overwritten, it may lead to permanent data loss. So, it is necessary to have adequate backups to prevent irreparable damage to organizations.

You should be aware of data protection laws or privacy laws when you design cloud infrastructure. So, you should ideally deploy data protection controls which support laws of the different data protection authorities in whose jurisdiction your organization falls.

It is necessary to evaluate the risks of deploying new cloud applications. You may have implemented multiple cloud application and data security measures like encryption or anti-malware etc, but residual risks remains whenever a new application is launched. This business decision to use a new application should be assessed by a proper task force consisting of IT leader and business owners.

These are some key ways in which you can secure your data and applications in the cloud. When you use the cloud for storing business critical data, it makes sense to pay for safe storage. It is therefore vital to be able to strike the right balance between the amount of protection you need for your data and the amount of money and time you are willing to spend for such protection.

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How Is My Data Protected?