As everything starts moving to the cloud, many people are concerned about security issues that may arise. This can be a confusing issue because most people cannot tell if cloud computing is more secure or less secure than its standard counterpart.
Rather than add to the confusion by saying one or the other, allow us to offer you a better explanation: It all depends on the people who use and provide the cloud. This is one of those things that may or may not be secure, and it all depends on the users. With that in mind, let’s go over a few tips that should help you to enjoy better security in the cloud.
1. Use Strong Encryption
Encryption is the art of mixing up your data to make it unreadable. You see, all computer data consists of 1s and 0s. This big mess of 1s and 0s is called binary code, and it is the most basic language of all computing. Now, imagine what happens if you mix all of that up! What you get is something that’s impossible to read until it has been reconstructed in its original form.
Network encryption usually takes the form of a VPN (a virtual private network), and this forms a private tunnel between each user and whatever websites they are visiting. When you consider the interconnectedness of all data in the cloud, it becomes obvious that unencrypted data is not really safe.
2. Make A Comprehensive Backup Plan
Good procedures and planning will usually make for better execution. For this reason, you need to think about backup and recovery before it becomes a problem. Once your system goes down, it will be too late. That’s why you need a serious and well-made plan for regular backups and emergency procedures.
Many cloud providers will create automatic backups at regular intervals, and this might be all you need. However, we wouldn’t advise putting all your eggs in one basket. You should at least back up your most important and sensitive data on a separate hard drive. That means you will also need to figure out which data is the most important and which is the least important.
3. Use Network Monitoring
Here is one sad fact about online security: It can never be perfect. Anything that one person can create, another person can learn to circumvent. As a result, you can never truly create a hack-proof system. However, you can make sure that an intruder will be caught immediately with good network monitoring procedures.
This is rather like the police practice of using marked bills when dealing with criminals. If you can’t stop them from committing the crime, you can at least make them easy to catch. There are many free tools like Wireshark and Nmap, which allow you to monitor all the traffic coming over your network in real-time. This does mean that someone will need to be tasked with near-constant monitoring, but it’s the only way to be sure.
4. Educate Yourself And Be Diligent
The more you know about both the cloud and the internet, the less vulnerable you are likely to be. At the same time, that knowledge won’t do you any good unless you act on it, preferably in an intelligent and diligent way. Articles like this are a good place to start, but you should go as deep as your interest and intellect will allow.
5. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Obviously, a cyber attacker will attempt to gain access to a cloud network by impersonating a legitimate user. If they have managed to steal any of the target’s personal information, they should be able to do this without much trouble. However, multi-factor authentication can make things a lot harder for them.
For instance, you might require someone to verify a phone number instead of just asking for a username and password. You might also use some security questions or a CAPTCHA to weed out those who should not be there. In some extreme cases, you may want to require an extra password, a PGP key, or other proofs of identity. Each one of these is a barrier that might stop an attacker in their tracks.
Always Overwrite The Deleted Data
You have probably heard that nothing is ever deleted from a computer. In actuality, this is not true, but it is based on something true. When you delete a file from your computer, most of it is not deleted. Instead, the computer basically puts a “mask” on that data, making it look empty. As such, it will be used as empty space, but the information itself is still there.
If you’ve ever used data recovery software, you know that these deleted records are not usually recovered in full. Most often, they will be recovered as fragments, but those fragments can still be enough for a person to gain sensitive information. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to overwrite your data, and there are many programs that can do the job. Most of the time, you would do this to an external hard drive instead of an internal one.
Cloud security is a new and interesting field of study, and certain things have not yet been seen or tested. Nevertheless, it isn’t all that different from the old structure to which we’ve all become accustomed. With a little bit of learning and a lot of diligent practice, you can create a cloud environment that offers both convenience and security in the same neat little package. If we have helped you to make progress toward that goal, please feel free to fill out the contact form below to learn even more.