In business today, the place to store data is online. Storing data online, also called the cloud, offers unrivaled versatility in accessing your data. It’s also toted as a cheaper alternative to maintaining company servers holding every piece of data. The cloud even seems safe. Using encryption to scramble data, a cloud company makes it hard to access anything without a key. However, any company head of operations shouldn’t be deceived. Cloud security isn’t impossible to break. Moreover, the storage companies often abuse their position to manipulate your data to their purposes. As a result, you need to take a proactive approach to your company’s online security. Here are a few tips that will really help secure online storage.
Two Step Account Verification
If you oversee protecting your company’s data you should know this, passwords are useless. While on paper they seem secure, they are completely let down by the human element. The most common worst password in the world is “123456.” Knowing that and a handful of other common ones get hackers into a lot of systems without actually hacking. As a result, just avoid using passwords all together. To secure access rely on a two-step verification system. Here the employee must put in not only an individual password, but a code sent to their phone in real time to gain access. Since all your employees certainly have a text-enabled phone, this is an easy way to improve your security without much effort.
Encrypt Your Own Data
One of the security features toted by cloud companies is encryption. Without a special key, your data will look like gibberish to a hacker. However, the encryption used by these companies is not fool-proof. Moreover, they are a tempting target for hackers, who can steal that data of numerous companies with one key. Therefore, a smart move is to encrypt all your own data before sending it to the cloud. This way, even if the hacker beats the cloud encryption, your data is still not usable. Third-party encryption software is readily available and has a much better track record then cloud encryption. When it comes to encryption, it’s really best to do it yourself.
Read Contracts Carefully
Hackers are not the only thing to worry about. A lot of online storage companies engage in dubious practices. Many companies who transfer pictures between secure clients include language that allows the storage company to distribute these pictures as they please, such as for advertising. As a result it’s essential to read their terms and conditions very carefully. Make sure you’re clear what their protection covers and what it doesn’t. Remember, outside of contractual obligation the storage company has no incentive to protect your data. Make sure that obligation is exactly what you want.
Keep A Hard Back-Up
While many hope online storage can completely replace company servers, some things should stay under your roof. Even if your cloud storage is safe, accidents happen. As a result, it’s important to have a least one hard backup on company premises. Moreover, certain important data should still never go the business cloud at all. Keep passwords, encryption keys, financial numbers, and other security info on secure servers only. Even more sensitive information, like patents and copyrights, should kept as paper files in a safe.
The best way to find gaps in your security is to regularly try to break it. Make regular attempts to break into both your own servers and your cloud companies’ servers to locate weak links. One of the best ways to do this is to hire a so-called “white hat” hacker. These ethically minded hackers break into companies’ security systems to help them find vulnerabilities. Such tests can give your system and IT team valuable experience fighting off a hack, without your data ever actually being in any danger.
In the end, secure online storage is dependent on each person in the company. If your company intends to store its data online, it is up to you and your employees to be proactive in protecting your smart business. The steps above will help strengthen protection around your online data. However, constant vigilance is also needed. Hackers prey on the apathy and indifference of people. They exploit our desire to make data easy to access. Our only way to stop them is the hard way, one piece of data at a time.