Are you taking extra steps to secure your information in the cloud?
While cloud data storage brings convenience and cost-effectiveness to users, its security capabilities are still in the early stages. Since data sharing is a primary advantage of public cloud services, data spillage is a real concern that needs to be monitored. Fortunately, users can take steps to protect data stored on the cloud. In fact, cloud service agreements generally require users to safeguard their own storage space. Here’s a look at how users can reduce the risks involved in cloud data storage.
Encrypt Your Data
To be on the safe side, encrypt your cloud data. If possible, use whole disk encryption for all of your files; if this isn’t possible, encrypt everything in shared storage. Take steps to protect your decryption keys, which should be shared only with authorized users. Never, under any circumstances, store the decryption key on the cloud, as this could expose your encryption-protected cloud storage to total ruin if someone were to find it. Finally, encrypt all your traffic with SSL or another form of VPN transfer, and ensure that all other users never access the cloud through an unsecured connection.
Keep Backups Consistent
The cloud has earned a reputation for being reliable as a place to back up large amounts of data, but becoming totally dependent on the cloud to maintain data integrity might be a bad idea. Cloud users should do everything they can to maintain tested backups of any and all important information. In some cases, cloud users tackle this issue by also keeping data storage onsite, such as with hybrid cloud setups.
Utilize Firewall Services
Depending on the cloud service you use, you may already have firewall controls pre-installed. According to QualityTech, with Atlanta data centers, firewalls are essential if you want to secure your data on the public cloud. Software designed for isolating your section of the cloud will create an envelope that protects your encrypted data in storage, processing and during transport through the network. Encryption keys are used securely and automatically as needed from within the isolation layer. This way, you can enjoy a similar level of control and privacy as if you were using a private cloud.
With purpose-built systems, there is greater assurance that the cloud’s virtual machines aren’t full of vulnerabilities due to misconfiguration. Hardened systems, in which all possible security holes have been patched and unnecessary services have been removed, offer significant protection against attacks. By taking advantage of IPS systems at the host, security is made even more reliable.
Avoid Using Passwords for Shell Access or Sudo
Unfortunately, password usage creates password files, which can be attacked. Of course, if your password files are compromised, your entire system will be open to intruders. The best way to avoid this situation is to simply eliminate password usage for these uses.
Ultimately, security on the cloud isn’t too different from anywhere else. The risks involved can be minimized through the use of time-tested security solutions. With the application of common sense, data protection on the public cloud is little to worry about. It is essential that users take extra measures to protect their valuable information and not simply rely on their service provider.
What steps are you taking to secure your information in the cloud? Please share in the comment box
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Ebele Okocha is a freelance writer with an interest in technology issues impacting entrepreneurs and small business. She is also a contributing author for Quality Technology Services, an IT infrastructure and media services company with Atlanta data centers that provide scalable and secure cloud services.