We tend to hear the term, “Put it in the cloud!” used quite loosely and used rather often. It’s very common to use cloud computing as an option for storage of files, photos, video and more. Cloud services are affordable and offer convenient advantages for small to medium size businesses. Using the “cloud” can be a quick and easy way to store and access data. However, you don’t want to get too comfortable with the ease of convenience when using cloud services. You will still want to be conscious of the steps you take to keep the cloud secure. This is a virtual space that needs to be kept extremely safe. And continuing to keep it safe is an ongoing task. A big priority is to protect highly sensitive company data and to keep it safe from hackers who are lurking around the internet. There are easy steps to take to ensure you are safe when you’re cloud computing.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at how you can stay safe in the cloud.
First of all, what is Cloud Computing?
Being in the cloud is basically using a remote network that is hosted on the Internet. Within this virtual network, you can use it to manage files, store data and work on projects. It becomes an online home for your files rather than storing files on your personal computer or a local server. To learn more about the breakdown and variations of technology associated with cloud computing, please visit our website.
Steps To Stay Safe In The Cloud
1) Use and maintain a strong password
A password that is not strong can be extremely easy for a hacker to crack. There are many programs available for a cyber criminal to use that can help them “guess” your password. To stay safe in the cloud for yourself and your employees we highly recommend creating strong passwords. And also regularly updating these passwords at least every 3 months. For help with creating a strong password, look into using a password manager. It is a great tool to help build a password that is unique and secure.
Here are a few additional tips for building a strong password:
- Don’t include personal information in your password that can be easily guessed.
- Use the longest password that is allowed with the system you are using to create a password. Here’s a fun fact from an article on www.csoonline.com, “A Keeper Security study of 10 million compromised passwords found that an astonishing 17 percent of accounts used the password “123456,” and seven of the top 15 passwords on the list were six characters or less. The technology cybercriminals employ today can crack a six-character password in minutes.”
- Avoid using misspelled words that are still common words.
- Do make sure to use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers for your password.
2) Enable two-step verification
Add a second layer of security when logging into your cloud service by enabling two-factor authentication. Several cloud technology services are now offering this feature such as Google. We highly suggest setting up this feature for you and your employees. Take security a step further and make it a requirement for your employees to use two-factor for any online accounts. This ensures your cloud is safe. When you or an employee are trying to log into the cloud, a code will be sent to a second device, it’s a one-time password that is generated by an application such as Google Authenticator. You would retrieve the code from such an application and enter it as part of the log-in process for your cloud. This way the user is validated. In addition, as a business owner, you can feel good knowing the right steps are taking place to ensure the correct people are entering the cloud.
3) Use caution when selecting a provider
It’s important to use caution when browsing the internet. Do not click on links that look suspicious. And don’t sign up for programs or packages that are not from a trusted source. Same rules apply with selecting a cloud service provider. This will be a remote site storing sensitive information. You will want to make sure you use a cloud service that is trustworthy. Unsure about the company you want to sign up with for cloud services? First, do some research before you make any commitments and move files over. You’ll want to make sure you are signed up with a company that can offer you the most secure online space.
4) Watch out for phishing attacks
Keep a lookout for emails that are phishing. This is how cyber criminals can get access to your cloud service. A phishing email is an email that poses as a trusted source with the goal to trick to the user into submitting personal information from clicking on a link in the email, etc. Attackers have this process down so well they’ve also created another hack called spear phishing. With spear phishing hackers create personalized or custom emails that again look like they are from a trusted source but really are not. The goal is, of course, to try to get you to enter personal information such a password. If an employee is not aware of these type of acts performed by cyber criminals they could become a victim of this attack. Which in fact can give a hacker direct access to your cloud.
Employee training is a key solution to help educate an employee on how to stay safe and be suspicious of these type of emails. Employees can learn to double check the “from” the line, or hover over links in an email instead of right away clicking on them. Small steps such as these can go a long way with protecting your cloud and company data.
Bottom line is cloud computing is a great tool for flexibility and creates the utmost convenience for small to medium businesses. Cloud services offer the ability for employees and business owners to share, store and work on files at their leisure. With doing so it’s important to express to those who are using the cloud to be cautious and take extra steps to keep the cloud safe. Please contact us if you have any questions about the safety of your cloud. Working with a trust outsourced IT company is a good place to start.