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How to Secure Your Data on the Cloud – The Easy Way

Today's cloud service providers have a lot of built-in security to safeguard your data. While they provide ample challenge for hackers and other malicious computer users, they're not completely impenetrable. Given the proper knowledge, tools, and time, a dedicated hacker can still find and access your cloud data.

But there are a number of steps you can take to help secure your data before it's even copied to the cloud. Not only will this protect your data in case of a cloud breach, but these simple practices can mitigate your risk of malware, ransomware, viruses, and more.

Create strong passwords

You've probably been told a thousand times to create a strong, secure password – but what exactly does that mean? According to today's standards, passwords should contain a mix of letters and numbers; including capital letters and special characters throughout. While experts differ on the optimal length, most passwords with eight or more characters are generally considered strong.

Additionally, avoid reusing passwords across multiple sites or accounts. If one login becomes compromised, the hacker will easily be able to access your other accounts – even if they're on completely different sites.

Maintain an offline backup

Always keep an offline backup of any mission-critical data. For best results, keep the drive disconnected from the rest of your network – including the Internet. While this doesn't necessarily make your cloud data any more secure, you'll be able to rely on this backup if a serious incident or emergency should occur.

Adjust your online habits (and those of your employees)

In some cases, it might be necessary to adjust the online habits of yourself or your staff. Opening email attachments from suspicious accounts, for example, is a huge mistake. Using open Wi-Fi connections, like those that are commonly located in public places, can also expose your network to would-be hackers, identity thieves, and other malicious users.

Don't hesitate to broadcast this information throughout your workforce and share it with your entire staff – especially if you work with sensitive or confidential information. Remember: a little bit of extra diligence beforehand could spare your company a lot of headache – and costs – in the end.

Encrypt your data

If you have to upload sensitive, confidential, or otherwise valuable information to the cloud, make sure to encrypt it – ideally with 256-bit encryption – before initiating the upload. While some service providers offer built-in encryption tools, and there are plenty of third-party options to choose from, performing encryption on your own system is the best way to ensure your data's security. If your cloud service provider is ever hacked, or if a data breach occurs, hackers will only be able to access your encrypted data.

Avoid storing highly sensitive information

Finally, try to avoid storing any highly sensitive information on your primary network. Hackers will sometimes go to great lengths to gain unauthorized access to a system. If their remote hacks don't work, some will even try to gain physical access. In cases like this, the best thing you can do is store your mission-critical data at an off-site location.


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