WIth 95% of Australian businesses connected to the internet and conducting some portion of their trade online, many are seeking ways to streamline their digital presence. In the interests of ease and convenience, growing numbers of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and large corporate offices alike are turning to third party cloud software for digital file storage. Over 40% of businesses in Australia now rely on cloud platforms Google Drive or Dropbox, the popularity of which has grown in tandem with the rise of remote working.

While cloud storage vastly simplifies the process of storing, accessing, and sharing files, it also presents a number of cyber security threats to SMEs. To explain the nature of these threats and how best to overcome them, we’ve teamed up with the cybersecurity experts at ESET. Read on to learn their advice for keeping your digital file storage safe and discover cloud data security best practices now.

Understanding Cloud Storage Security Risks

While they rely on increasingly sophisticated technology and are often managed by reputable software vendors, cloud storage platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox remain third party software. This means that they are subject to all the cyber security risks typically associated with third party software, such as:

  • Shared servers, which may leave you vulnerable to attack in the event that another business using the same platform is targeted by cyber criminals.
  • Potential access issues including uncertainty over the confidentiality of security credentials, the leaking of security credentials in the event that the cloud platform itself is the victim of a cyber attack, and the need to revoke access once a staff member leaves or is no longer authorised to access files.
  • Lack of backup services, leaving the business vulnerable to catastrophic data losses in the event that secure cloud storage servers fail or are taken offline.

Implementing Cloud Data Security Best Practice

While the above cyber security threats are certainly cause for concern and vigilance, they are far from unavoidable. Businesses can take a number of simple steps to limit their exposure to cyber attacks via third party cloud software. Here are some practical tips for dealing with cloud data security challenges and how to secure cloud data.

  1. Encrypt your data

Encrypting sensitive information is one of the foremost ways to minimise data theft threats associated with cloud storage. Readily available data encryption software can protect your sensitive information by making it unreadable to users without the relevant security credentials. That way, even if cyber attackers are able to access your files via cloud storage, they will not be able to understand and use them.

Top Tip: For maximum control over your cyber security measures, look for data encryption software that allows you to encrypt both volumes and individual files and folders.

  1. Require multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a type of login protocol that requires more than a simple username-password combination to verify a user’s identity. Common forms of MFA include special access codes sent to a designated email or phone number and personal questions determined by the user themselves at the setup stage. Requiring MFA to access data on your secure cloud storage platform is a simple yet effective way to strengthen cloud security, and can be easily implemented on most platforms.

  1. Maintain additional backup measures

Whether you’re storing your files remotely with a large provider like Google or Dropbox or using a smaller and less established provider, always keep a physical backup of critical data. Periodically backing up your files on a hard drive or on-site server can prevent devastating data loss in the event that a cloud platform malfunctions or ceases trading.

Secure your Cloud based Digital File Storage Today

Cloud based file storage is a major innovation in digital technology that has streamlined day-to-day operation for many businesses. Still, businesses must remain vigilant of potential cloud storage security risks and take appropriate actions to protect themselves against ever-present data theft threats.

In addition to undertaking the above practices, we recommend consolidating cloud security for small businesses by investing in security software like ESET Secure Business and ESET Secure Authentication (ESA). To learn more about these powerful software solutions and which could be right for you, get in touch with ESET!