Cloud Storage Security — How Safe Is Your Data?
Convenience and cost-efficiency have driven enterprises to move their data to the cloud. Many companies opt to store operational data on cloud storage instead of setting up an on-premise data server. Yet, some remain hesitant to make a move because of the perceived cloud storage security risks. In this article, we’ll cover how to secure your data on the cloud.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is a cloud computing solution that allows businesses and individuals to store data on a distributed network of remote servers. You can access data stored in cloud storage at any location, as long as you’re connected to the Internet.
Google Drive is an example of cloud storage in the consumer space. It allows you to create, upload, manage and share documents easily on the cloud. Enterprise cloud storage applications involve a different setup, which includes hosting data warehouses, application services, sensitive corporate data, or other workloads on the cloud.
One of the benefits of cloud storage is scalability. Organizations pay for the required storage space and can adjust the subscription accordingly along the way. This is more economical than investing in and maintaining an on-premise data center.
Is Cloud Storage Safe?
Storing sensitive data in servers managed by external vendors might raise concerns amongst business stakeholders. Yet, it’s impossible to find a 100% safe cloud storage solution. However, it is fair to deduce that storing your data on the cloud is relatively more secure than on a computer.
For a start, you won’t lose your data easily with cloud storage. When you save a file on the cloud, it will be automatically replicated as backups on several different servers. If the primary server fails, the cloud system will retrieve and restore the backup data. This ensures uninterrupted operations for businesses and data redundancy for all users.
Cloud storage also incorporates encryption to prevent unauthorized users from misusing your data. Some cloud storage provides end-to-end encryption, which means the encryption takes place on your device before the file is transferred to the cloud. End-to-end encryption is crucial for businesses that use cloud storage for storing health, financial, or other industrial-regulated data.
By subscribing to cloud storage, you enjoy round-the-clock protection through the vendors’ security measures. For example, the vendor set up advanced perimeter security and automated patch updates to elevate its cloud data storage security. Vendors maintain high situational awareness of potential threats and respond promptly.
Potential cloud storage security issues
Despite the advanced security measures enforced by cloud vendors, cloud storage is not an impenetrable fortress. It is essential to understand that cloud data security is a shared responsibility between vendors and users. Lack of security awareness, bad practices, and infrastructure limitations might compromise cloud storage security.
One of the common cloud storage security issues involves privacy management. When you store data on the cloud, it often resides on the same physical server that caters to other users. You have no control over the type of data that other users would store on the server nor how the vendor ensures storage stability during peak traffic.
Migrating to cloud storage might cause some organizations to be complacent in enforcing data security. Organizations are responsible for managing access rights amongst employees. If the encryption key falls into unauthorized parties, you might suffer a data breach. Also, losing the encryption key means permanent blockage from the stored files.
Companies that seek to migrate to cloud storage must be aware of privacy regulations, such as GPDR, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA. These regulations dictate how and where organizations are permitted to store sensitive information and dish out hefty penalties for non-compliance. Medical institutions use HIPAA-compliant cloud storage that provides robust encryption and access control to safeguard patients’ data.
How to Improve Cloud Storage Security
Like it or not, users bear part of the responsibility in securing data on cloud storage. Here are helpful tips to beef up cloud storage security.
- Duplicate the encryption key and secure it with a strong password. Preferably, store it on an offline device or write it down.
- Choose a cloud provider that facilitates regulatory compliance, particularly if your business stores sensitive data. Find out if you have the option of storing the data on remote servers in specific countries.
- Be mindful when sharing cloud content with your friends, co-workers, or other parties. Ensure that they are granted the appropriate access level and cannot compromise the integrity of the stored data.
- Choose a cloud storage vendor that provides end-to-end encryption. This helps you to protect your files from possible mid-transfer interceptions. Alternatively, use ClearVPN to transfer your files on a secure encrypted tunnel.
- Evaluate if the cloud vendor employs the necessary protective measures. For example, AES encryption, TLS handshakes, and anti-malware software.
What is the Most Secure Cloud Storage?
Privacy-conscious organizations use these cloud storage solutions, which have proved to be reliably secure.
With 15GB of free storage, Google Drive is the most popular cloud storage amongst consumers. You can store, share and sync documents, audio, video, and various file types across different devices. Google Drive encrypts your data before it leaves your devices and ensures total protection on the cloud.
Microsoft OneDrive provides a seamless Office experience and cloud-sharing for personal and business workstations. It allows you to share Word docs, Excel sheets, and other documents on the cloud with co-workers. While Microsoft OneDrive offers end-to-end encryption, the software giant maintains possession of the encryption key, which means your data is not 100% private.
Amazon Storage Services
AWS offers various cloud storage services for enterprise needs. The Amazon Simple Storage (S3) is a scalable cloud storage solution that allows businesses to store various types of data. It helps companies stay compliant with privacy regulations like PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, and FedRAMP.
How safe is cloud storage?
Cloud storage offers a high degree of security compared to conventional file systems. When you store files on the cloud storage, they are encrypted, replicated, and protected with evolving security measures.
What is private cloud storage?
Private cloud storage is a network of file-storing servers that reside on a local network. Files stored on a public cloud storage system cannot be accessed from the internet. Some companies choose the private cloud as it is easier to maintain data privacy and comply with regulatory requirements.
Cloud storage data security is inherently good, thanks to its underlying structure and technologies. While vendors are doing their best to keep data safe, users are equally responsible for safeguarding stored information. Applying additional security measures such as using a VPN, helps strengthen cloud storage security. Use ClearVPN to transfer files securely to the cloud.