Increase Security When You Use the Cloud


Cloud computing has many advantages, including cost savings on hardware and services, reliable access, flexibility and scalability, and reduced environmental impact. Every interaction your business has with the cloud represents a loss of control. You are placing your information in the hands of people and organizations whose practices and priorities you can’t fully know. That thinking alone is enough to make any business owner lose sleep. Fortunately, you can take steps to mitigate your risk and improve the security of your data and, by extension, your company.

Practice Routine Device Security

Information is only as secure as the devices used to access it. Be sure you have a full accounting of all the devices your team uses to access data in the cloud. For maximum security, keep personal and work devices separate. If that separation is impractical, use secure, business-specific apps to isolate the business use of employee devices.

Take the additional step of installing a patch management agent on any device with cloud access to make sure that operating systems and security features are always up-to-date.

Get Granular About Access

Access to the cloud should not be as simple as answering yes or no to a prompt. Not everyone needs to be able to access everything. Grant each individual or participant in a project access to only the information he or she needs. People with visibility into more sensitive information should receive more detailed and frequent cloud security training and undergo stricter access controls.

Consider context, as well. You may be comfortable with a single sign-on when employees are in the office during business hours, but you may decide that logging into your network from off-site locations or during off-hours justifies additional steps.

Remember that cloud access is something you should revisit regularly. Schedule quarterly reviews to be sure that all employees can get to the data they need — but no more than they need, as roles and responsibilities change.

Secure Assets Based on Risk

Some of the information you keep in the cloud is especially sensitive. This data demands security that goes beyond simply limiting who can find it. In addition to regularly reviewing access roles, conduct periodic audits of all of your company’s cloud-based data and note which pieces of data are most sensitive. Make sure that information is placed behind several layers of security and that access protocols are current.

Introduce a Middleman

One way to extend the reach of your smart internal security practices is to employ a cloud access security broker (CASB). This piece of software that acts as a gatekeeper between your business and the cloud. A CASB gives you visibility into activity within the cloud, verifies and enforces compliance with the latest security standards, and protects against internal and external threats. The software keeps pace with the latest developments in cloud security and alerts you to potential problems before they become critical ones.

Every new development introduces new challenges. You need to find the right balance between embracing emerging technologies and safeguarding what you’ve built along the way. The cloud is part of the present and future for any innovative business. Put these security strategies into practice to maximize the many benefits of the cloud without exposing your data to unnecessary risk.