A man in a cape with a shield celebrates cloud security

7 Best practices for protecting your data on the cloud

Cloud data protection is becoming increasingly important in the modern world. With the rise of cloud computing, the ability to store and access data from anywhere has become easier than ever. As a result, organizations need to ensure that their data is secure from unauthorized access. Cloud data protection helps to ensure that sensitive information is safe from malicious actors, and can be recovered in the event of a system failure or data breach.

Is your company leveraging cloud computing because of its flexibility, scalability, and storage capacity? As you take advantage of its benefits, have you also enforced the protection of your cloud infrastructure?

If you haven’t yet, make sure you do. Research shows that in 2022 roughly 15 million data records got exposed worldwide due to data breaches. Don’t wait for intellectual property theft to happen to you and compromise your trade secrets in the cloud.

The importance of cloud data protection

Cloud data protection involves a set of practices safeguarding data in a cloud environment. These good practices apply to data regardless of how it’s managed and where it’s stored.

As a growing number of businesses are migrating to the cloud, the number of cybersecurity threats has also increased. This is why cloud protection practices are key aspects of an organization’s data security. 

Why you need cloud data protection

If you’re like most organizations that collect and store vast amounts of information, you definitely need cloud data protection. This protection is notably significant for companies using the software as a service (SaaS) offerings as they operate via web portals. But even so, many organizations choose to store data in the cloud for internal use due to ease of access. 

As different companies adopt cloud services, data protection becomes even more complex due to the following:

Third-party hosting can set limits on data access and sharing.

Organizations may need to be made aware of where all applications and data are stored.

Shared security responsibilities can be misapplied or misunderstood by non-techy users.

If multiple cloud providers or infrastructures are used, security may be inconsistent.

Data you collect or store may be subject to data protection regulations such as California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the USA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Seven best practices for securing data in the cloud

If you want to intensify your cloud security, here are seven best practices you should consider to secure essential data.

1. Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA)

The username and password combination you use isn’t enough to protect user accounts from cybercriminals. Skilled hackers can easily steal credentials to access your online data and applications. Once they manage to get in, they can use all the cloud-based applications of your business. 

Using MFA, you can establish a restriction allowing authorized personnel to log in to your cloud apps. How? MFA requires users to provide at least two or more verification factors to access their online account. This added layer of protection decreases the possibility of a successful cyber attack. 

2. Enforce cloud backup solutions

The odds of a business losing data because of a cloud provider aren’t that high. A recent Stanford research states that 88% of all data breaches come from human error rather than technical susceptibilities. 

Here’s a scenario: An employee uses Microsoft Office 365 and accidentally deletes data when cleaning up folders. While Microsoft stores deleted data for a short time, it can do nothing if it’s past a certain period. Check with your cloud provider regarding this scenario and see what time frame you have if this happens to you.

How does cloud storage work?

For most business owners, finding enough space to store all data can be a real challenge. Some people take advantage of the benefits of WordPress cloud hosting, while others invest in larger hard drives. Desperate companies decide to delete folders of old files to make space for new, valuable data. 

But with cloud storage, saving data becomes a walk in the park. Instead of storing tons of files yourself, you have an off-site storage system maintained by a third party. You only need an internet connection, and you’ll be able to access that database anytime. 

By having a backup on the cloud, the protection of your deleted or missing data becomes non-negotiable. Below are the benefits of using cloud backup:

Many cloud backup solutions are on the market today to protect your data. Look for reputable cloud-native platforms to find one that best fits the needs of your business. 

3. Manage user access

Not all of your employees will need access to every piece of information, file, and application in your cloud infrastructure. You need to set appropriate levels of authorization. These levels ensure users can only view or manipulate apps or data necessary to their job functions.

Assigning access control helps prevent employees from accidentally compromising data they’re not authorized to access. Moreover, it makes it harder for hackers who have managed to steal an employee’s credentials to infiltrate. 

Think about it. If employees have access to everything and get tricked by a phishing email and provide their logins—things become easier for a cybercriminal.

4. Establish a thorough off-boarding process

When employees leave the organization, ensure they can no longer access cloud storage and other relevant business data. It’s an important responsibility often forgotten or pushed back weeks after an employee leaves. 

Since each of your employees likely has access to many different cloud applications, you need to establish a systemized off-boarding process. Doing so ensures that all access rights are revoked. 

5. Give anti-phishing training to employees

Cybercriminals deploy various methods to get information by stealing employees’ login credentials, such as stalking social media accounts and phishing. 

CISCO’s 2021 Cybersecurity Threat Trends report that at least one person fell victim to a phishing link in 86 percent of organizations. The data also suggests that phishing accounts for 90 percent of data breaches. Offering regular anti-phishing training is a great way to prevent employees from falling victim to scams and compromising company data.

Monitoring employees’ activity isn’t the only way to reduce cyber attacks. To further protect your cloud infrastructure, raising employee cybersecurity awareness—especially on phishing—is crucial.

Avoid training without real-life simulations

Teach your employees about the different signs of phishing to avoid disclosing sensitive company information. However, remember to do your anti-phishing training programs with real-life simulations. These simulations should feel like real phishing attacks, and employees should be unaware of them. 

After the simulations, monitor the results and determine which employees need further training. Analyze the behavior of employees during simulations of a phishing attack to know which areas need security improvement. 

6. Track end-user activities

An efficient way to spot irregular usage patterns is to establish real-time monitoring and analysis of end-user activities. For instance, someone logging in from an unidentified IP or unknown device can be deemed an abnormal activity.

Abnormal activities may indicate a breach in your security system. By catching them early on, you can stop hackers in their tracks and fix security issues before they can get worse. 

7. Choose a trustworthy cloud provider

The best practices mentioned from one to six will only be effective if you pick the right provider. Choosing a reliable cloud service provider ensures that you consistently have the best built-in security protocols that conform to industry standards. 

The mark of a reliable cloud provider is evident in their security certifications and compliance. It’s something that they’ll freely make available to the public, no questions asked. 

The requirements of a cloud service provider usually encompass technology and include things like cloud services administration, security, and even financial health and track record. An XDR platform can collect security telemetry from endpoints, cloud workloads, network email, and more.To make a fully informed choice, evaluate a cloud service provider based on these critical areas:

Your chosen provider should understand how you run your organization and what you want to achieve by moving to the cloud. Most importantly, they should be able to match their technical expertise to your cloud objectives.


Rodney Brazil

Rodney Brazil

More articles written by Rodney.

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