In the digital era we live in, data represents the driving force behind the competition, innovation, and improvement. Say, the more you know about your target audience, the more relevant is your offer; the more you know about global market, tendencies and current demand, the higher is ROI of your enterprise; finally, the more you know about your competitors, the easier it is to hold your positions in the rivalry. All this constitutes information, and it’s almost impossible for a business to run and thrive without it.
But all the data you store — including that your core business processes are based on — is daily exposed to the numerous risk factors, like getting
- lost due to a hard drive breakdown: just like in other machines, computer parts wear out over time, starting to malfunction — which may eventually let you down
- corrupted by malware activity: as the art of hacking evolves, new viruses and various malicious programs can be really tricky, working silently and implicitly
- erased as a result of some unexpected happening: even if hurricanes and earthquakes aren’t that common in your region, things like severe power outages remain known data killers all across the globe
- even being permanently deleted by accident: the worst part about it is that you normally realize important files are missing way too late to be capable of retrieving them)
…not mentioning system failures and errors, hacking threats, and other causes that may bring your business to a serious downtime once some crucial information requires rebuilding.
So, what is the best practice to protect the vital data from all the above? Put it in the cloud!
The most reliable and effective way to avert all the mentioned above (and protect your business from potential downtimes that could cost you a pretty penny) are regular backups, best stored in a secure place that neither a hacker, nor a nature disaster won’t be able to reach. And that’s where you may find cloud technologies the best option to deploy!
In addition to obvious benefits — like complete optimization of operational processes, significant reduction in data storage costs, scalability of memory space and plenty of others, cloud environments offer automated backups — the possibility to keep the information up-to-date without the need to create your own repositories and servers on-site, while having it accessible anytime and anywhere over the internet. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
The only questionable thing about public cloud environments remains safety. Storing crucial information on servers provided via third-party organizations implies that control over the data will be to one degree or another limited, which raises the question of the potential security risks…
Taking Necessary Measures
No doubt, cloud service vendors must ensure that their infrastructure is fully secure and their users’ data is properly protected. But since it’s a shared responsibility, some measures (id addition to notorious ones like “apply unique strong passwords only” and “avoid storing most sensitive data in the cloud”) must be taken on the customer’s side as well, in the name of greater security.
1. Backup Data Locally
One of the most substantial things to consider is ensuring you have electronic copies of your most important data. Whether you prefer to place it onto some other cloud platform, or choose to back it up in an external physical storage media: any option will be good since it may someday save you a dozen nerve cells and a pile of money.
After all, even if somehow your external storage gets damaged or destroyed — a reliable data recovery company will be able to retrieve the data for you. We would recommend Salvagedata — the most trusted name in the field with more than 10 years of experience, who doesn’t afraid to accept the most complicated cases of data loss. It can help you to back up your data during complex migration such as G suite to Office 365 migration or Microsoft SharePoint migration. Excellent customer service, shortest repair terms and free examination of your device are included.
2. Read Your Cloud’s User Agreement
Reading user agreements is a boredom, we know; but you do need that in order to find out how your cloud service storage works before you sign up for it. The document that most often suffers from insufficient attention actually consists of the vital information you should base your decision on.
3. Pick Cloud Services that Encrypt Data
So far, encryption is the best way you can guard your data. Some cloud services vendors, in addition to storing and backing up data, provide local encryption/decryption of your files. Basically, encryption means the data is “scrambled” into a lengthy code when sent from one person to another, which makes it unreadable for anybody else who may attempt to access it, and thus tightly secure. Such approach guarantees so called “zero-knowledge” privacy — when no one, including server administrators or cloud providers, can gain access to your data.
What the advice “do not save on the security” follows from: when cloud platform is used to keep corporate information, paying for secure data storage is surely reasonable.
4. Encrypt Data Yourself
It may sound silly or excessive, but encrypting files before uploading them onto the cloud is another necessary measure — even if you know your cloud storage automatically encrypts them. There are plenty of third-party applications that will apply passwords and encryption to data as soon as you are done editing it so that it will be encrypted before uploading.
5. Remember of Antivirus Software
All the measures listed above will safeguard your data; but sometimes it is the system from which you have logged in, not the cloud security that is a threat. Hackers could easily access your account if no proper protection was applied.
Antivirus should keep your system clear. Just don’t neglect updating its databases and regularly scan your files to make sure you won’t accidentally infect your cloud with malware.
6. Test the Security Measures In Place
There are certified ethical-hackers who can test the security of your cloud. If you want to make sure all the taken steps work properly, and especially if your organization is operating with highly sensitive data, it will be a wise move to hire such an expert to check if there are no loopholes, or vulnerabilities, that could allow hacking from unknown sources.
Cloud computing offers a multitude of advantages that could be extremely helpful in business processes and operations; but yet it doesn’t guarantee 100% safety — and, more likely, it never will since the field of cybercrime is keeping pace with that of cyber-security. Just keep in mind: the more layers of protection are applied, the safer is your data.