There’s no denying that cloud-based applications are taking over in offices around the world due to their ability to break the chains of “one software-one computer” and enable mobility in the workforce like never before.
On a data security front, they also can keep files safety stored in a corporate cloud solution
, like OneDrive or Dropbox, rather than spread out over multiple employee devices.
By 2020, it’s estimated that 83% of company workload will be stored in the cloud.
But while the cloud is transforming how we work with technology in multiple facets of business, there’s also a concern about its security. 84% of organizations state that cloud environments require different security solutions
than they’ve used in the past.
So, how do you enjoy the benefits of working with cloud applications while addressing security concerns? Read on for the best ways to secure cloud programs and protect your company from a costly data breach.
Steps for Securing Your Cloud Applications
To understand where to best focus your efforts when it comes to cloud security, it’s important to note that cloud-based application breaches are typically caused by the user rather than the cloud provider.
It’s estimated that through 2022, at least 95%
of cloud security failures will be the fault of the customer. By adopting the tips below, you’ll help significantly increase your cloud security and address the user end of the cloud security equation.
1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Weak or stolen passwords are the main entry point for hackers to breach your cloud applications and the sensitive data they contain. A simple way to plug this security hole is to enable and require two-factor authentication for all your employees.
This means that a 2nd
factor of authentication will be needed in order to login, which is typically a code that’s sent to the user’s phone via text message. Even if a password has been compromised, unless the hacker also has the user’s smartphone too, they won’t be able to gain access to your data.
2. Backup Your Data Locally and in the Cloud
A big benefit of cloud-based applications is they make it easy to back up your data
automatically. For example, if you use Office 365, you can connect your computer to your OneDrive account to back up documents as you’re creating them.
But even with that cloud backup in place, it’s best practices to also back up your data locally, so you’ll be covered should anything happen to the data in your cloud storage. Likewise, you don’t want to only have a local backup, because if something happens to that, the cloud backup will ensure your business continuity.
3. Use Cloud Provider Security Tools (Like Microsoft Secure Score)
Cloud providers do their best to help users understand the myriad of security settings for a cloud platform and where they may be leaving areas vulnerable.
For example, Microsoft Secure Score
gives you an overall score on your Office 365 application with suggestions on how you can improve your score – i.e. improve your cloud data security – making it easy for administrators to balance security with usability and see where security may need to be improved.
4. Manage User Access and Permissions
Not every user needs access to every area of a cloud application, so you want to use the available administrative settings to control who can access what type of data, who can share certain files, and who has the ability to do things like add and delete users.
Some access and permission examples from cloud software are:
- In QuickBooks Online, you can allow a person to access the customers and invoices area, but not the vendors or bank account areas.
- In OneDrive, you can remove the permission to share certain files and folders or the ability to delete files.
- In WordPress, you can allow users to add or edit a blog, but not add or delete users.
- In Slack, you can lock chat channels to make them private and only allow access to certain users.
5. Use Mobile Device Management Software
The mobility of cloud applications is one of the biggest reasons they’re so popular and are replacing static computer-based software. But if you don’t have control over which devices have access to your data, you could end up with a major security issue should a smartphone get lost or stolen.
Mobile Device Management software allows you to remotely block app access or wipe your data clean if a device is lost. They also give you the ability to monitor app activity and adjust workflows accordingly. One of the newer platforms that companies are adopting is Microsoft 365, which is a bundle that includes Office 365, Windows 10 Pro, and Microsoft Intune for mobile device management.
Learn More About Cloud Security Solutions
Are you looking for a good mobile device management application? Want to learn more about activating permissions in the cloud software that makes up the bulk of your workflow? Unity IT can help you make sense of security settings and find the right balance between completely secure and user productivity.
Book your free consultation today and enjoy the cloud securely!