The Internet is a dangerous place for unprotected data. Between criminal groups, governments, and even disgruntled ex-employees, there is a constant threat for personal data to either be compromised or destroyed when it is hosted on the cloud. The process to prevent data loss and theft is relatively simple, as long as you remember the acronym P.E.B.
P.E.B stands for: Password, Encrypt, and Backup. Each of these three simple concepts must be carefully adhered to if you wish to maintain a safe and secure environment for your data on the cloud. A good cloud security provider will help you with all three of these steps in a manner that is both transparent and simple.
Password – The First Line in Your Defenses
A good password is one that takes a moment or two for you to remember. It should be a mixture of characters and numbers, and make sure to never use a dictionary word! Here is a link to an article put out by the University of Maryland.
Beyond choosing a good password, it is vital to remember to change the password on a frequent basis. A good rule of thumb is to change the password every two months. A simple reminder in your calendar is a good way of keeping track of what to change, and when.
A final word on passwords – never write them down or share them recklessly. If you do need to tell someone else the password, change the code as soon as you possibly can.
Encrypt – Local, In-Transit, and On the Cloud
A good cloud service provider will encrypt your data during transfer, and encrypt it again when it arrives. Generally speaking, you should look for a provider that uses AES 256-bit encryption, at a minimum. Here is some information on this standard.
For local encryption, the most effective method for use in conjunction with a cloud service is to implement encryption on a per-file basis. Here is information on an open-source tool that can get the job done.
Backup – For no solution is foolproof
There are no guarantees in life. An employee might get the right password at the wrong time, and cause chaos on the way out the door. A virus might render the computer unusable. Amazon might goof and have a rain storm form in its datacenter, again.
In short, there is no guarantee that your data will be available when you need it. Keep a copy of your information on a local backup drive, and keep this data current. It could very well spell the difference between a bad morning in the office, and a headache taking down your whole company for the better part of a week.
Safely migrating to the cloud involves many of the same basic security tools and procedures that are utilized in maintaining a secure on-site data storage solution. By keeping in mind the acronym P.E.B., you can easily handle even the biggest issues that may crop up during the business day.