Over the past few weeks we’ve talked to a few local law firms about the state of their IT, and these conversations got me thinking. Even with the amount of data these firms, and firms all over the country, have […]
Safety in Cloud Storage
Cloud based technology is growing in popularity, and it’s bringing with it a variety of different benefits for small businesses. For the purposes of data backup, you no longer have to worry about fires, burglaries, or other on-site catastrophes that could bring your organization to its knees. Your employees are also always connected: they can be just as productive out of the office as they can in the office. Even if they have to use their tablet or other mobile device while they’re away on vacation, they can do the same amount of work in either location.
The Cloud: Safety Considerations
The cloud based world does not come without some potential disadvantages, the most significant among them being security concerns. The recent string of data breaches that have plagued some of the biggest corporations on the planet are evidence of this: Apple’s own iCloud service was hacked, and the personal photos of dozens of celebrities were leaked onto the Internet for the world to see.
To maintain safety in a cloud based world, you should start by choosing a secure provider in compliance with industry standards. It’s also crucial to be a responsible user of cloud services–that means always creating strong passwords and using tw0-factor authentication. Below, we’ll break cloud safety down a bit more.
The first safety step that you need to take when embracing cloud based technology in the workplace is making sure that you—and especially your cloud-provider—are in compliance with all regulations and requirements dictated by the governing bodies in your industry. Banks, health care organizations, and others have already created lists of guidelines, rules, and “best practices” governing security and safety in a cloud based environment. For the benefit of both your business and your clients, ensure that your IT staff is always aware of any requirements that change and are making any necessary adaptations as they come along.
Optional Security Measures Should Not Be Optional
Another important step to take involves embracing any and all “optional” security or safety measures that are available from your cloud based service providers. One of the most important of these is called multi-factor authentication, which is also commonly referred to as two-factor authentication.
In a typical workplace email environment, you can usually access your personal email account by simply entering your credentials—username and password—to log in. This method of password authentication is relatively secure, assuming you use a strong password, although those credentials will quickly prove meaningless if someone is able to guess or hack your password. Multi-factor authentication takes things one step further by requiring at least one additional method of authentication before access is granted to that account.
The most common secondary authentication method uses your cell phone as an electronic key: After you enter your username and password for your email account, for example, the system can send a unique code to your phone in a text message. You then have to enter that code into your browser or email client in order to access your email. The code expires quickly and changes every time you log in from a new machine, thereby preventing unauthorized people from gaining access. Thus, even if somebody guesses or tricks you into revealing your password (something you know), they still can’t access your account without physical access to your cell phone (something you possess).
Multi-factor authentication is a standard security option for more and more business-based cloud providers, including but not limited to:
- Cloud based email providers (Gmail, Office365, etc.)
- Cloud based file sharing providers (Dropbox, box.net, etc.)
- Customer relationship management (CRM) providers (Salesforce, etc.)
But in most cases, multi-factor authentication is not the default; you still have to enable it in your account settings.
Finding an Ideal Partner
Perhaps the most important step to take to remain safe in a cloud based world involves pairing up with the right service provider. Always research the security measures that any provider puts in place. Find out in detail how those security measures work and exactly what they do in the event of a breach. To learn more about cloud safety and how IT Freedom can protect your cloud resources, contact us.