How to Protect Data in the Cloud

How to Protect Data in the Cloud

It’s never been more important for businesses to be aware of how to secure data stored in the cloud. To mark this year’s World Cloud Security Day, Alan Stephenson-Brown, CEO at Evolve, shares industry best practices around cloud storage to ensure data is properly protected.

According to a recent survey,

80% of companies have experienced at least one cloud security incident in the last year, and 27% of organizations have experienced a public cloud security incident.

Nevertheless, because cloud storage solutions work at a far more effective scale than localized storage, the total cost of storage is often lower, and businesses can benefit from favorable service prices. Furthermore, cloud backup services are generally considered failsafe solutions in the event of a server crash, cyberattack or other data loss.

Cloud storage is essentially saving data to an off-site storage system maintained by a third party. Rather than storing information to your computer’s hard drive or other local storage device, you save it to a remote database.

While many cloud storage services also provide cloud backup functionality, we know from conversations with our own clients that there is a worrying assumption about data being automatically backed up in the cloud. This assumption is often incorrect and could be costing your business dearly.

One recent report found that,

"small" instances of data loss ) cost businesses an average of USD 18,120 to USD 35,730, while large-scale data loss ) costs an average of USD 5 million to USD 15.6 million.

Data loss costs are often calculated in terms of the cost of the downtime that follows.

As per the Ransomware and the Cost of Downtime report,

Depending on a company's size, costs of downtime can vary from USD 10,000 per hour to more than USD 5 million per hour.

While the cloud can automatically store data, it’s a mistake to think of the cloud as something that will automatically protect it. There are best practices all businesses should follow to ensure valuable information is safeguarded in the event of human error, cyber-attacks, system failures, software corruption or even natural disaster.

Also read: Addressing the Security Risks Associated with Cloud Data

Tips for protecting data stored in the cloud

  1. Choose a reputable cloud provider – The right vendor can help to minimize the risk of data loss or corruption due to hardware failures or other issues. Many businesses opt for a hybrid model of data storage.

According to a recent study,


Although many experts believe hybrid backup, combining cloud and local storage, is the best possible data backup solution, only 12% of IT users were using this model

Companies can also look at using multiple cloud providers to reduce the risk of a single point of failure and ensure the availability of their data.

  1. Understand your security responsibilities – When you move your data to cloud services, the first thing to do is establish who is responsible for securing it. In most cases, the cloud provider is responsible for securing the infrastructure, while the client is responsible for securing the data stored on that infrastructure. Make sure you know your responsibilities and take the necessary steps to secure your data.
  2. Use strong authentication – Passwords remain the first line of defense against unauthorized access, but they can be stolen, leaked, or compromised. Using strong authentication methods, such as multifactor authentication, can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to data.
  3. Implement encryption – Implementing encryption for data in transit and data at rest can help protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and data breaches. Encryption is a critical component of cloud security involving encoding data so that only authorized users can access it.
  4. Back it up! Despite the many benefits of cloud storage, many businesses fail to implement adequate backup and recovery plans, leaving their critical data at risk. In the event of an incident such as a cyber attack or hardware failure, businesses without adequate backup and recovery strategies may lose their data permanently. Follow the 3,2,1 rule – Back up three copies of data, in two separate locations, and make sure one is the cloud. Additionally, monitor backups daily. This may seem excessive, but we recommend daily backup testing – backing up data is useless if the backups themselves fail.

Cloud services are more popular than ever as a means of storing and accessing data and applications, especially for businesses,

A report says,

with around 60% of corporate data currently stored in the cloud, a figure that has at least doubled since 2015 and will continue to rise.

Yet cloud storage does introduce a set of challenges related to data protection, which is why backing data up has never been more important.

The good news is that more than one-third of businesses are planning to increase cybersecurity spending over the next year, including expanding and upgrading their cloud systems.

Says this report.

So, although many businesses are not backing up their data as frequently as we would recommend, we know there is a growing awareness of how important backup measures are, and how much time and money they can save long-term.

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