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As we all know, the cloud has become one of the most popular deployment options for businesses nowadays. The cloud’s ease of access, operational agility, efficiency, speed, and productivity make it a convenient choice for businesses. The industry is rapidly growing as organizations are generating more and more data due to the increase in business applications and smart devices.

In 2021, the cloud storage industry was estimated to be worth USD 70.19 billion. The market is anticipated to develop at a projected compound yearly growth rate of 24%, reaching 83.41 billion US dollars in 2022 and 376.67 billion US dollars by 2029.

Despite all the benefits, we can’t neglect the risks that come with storing your data on the cloud. Many businesses continue to question whether their files are really safe in cloud storage. With the rapid adoption of cloud storage services, businesses are becoming more susceptible to data breaches and security threats. Cybercriminals continue to become more sophisticated and find ways to infiltrate complex systems. 

This article will highlight how to protect your cloud data from hackers. Let’s discuss why your data is not as secure in the cloud as it could be and how to secure files effectively in cloud storage.

Why Your Cloud Files Might Not Be As Secure As You Think?

Cloud storage security services are convenient and affordable, but they aren’t perfect. Here are some reasons why your cloud data protection protocol might not be as secure as you think.

  • Data Breach and Data Leak

Data loss or data leakage is one of the most commonly occurring cloud storage security risks which is an indication that your data is not as secure as you think. Cloud services are provided by third-party vendors, which often utilize different levels of encryption depending on their security infrastructure. 

However, unencrypted data sets, vulnerable server setup, and failure in the privacy of cloud instances can put data at risk. Moreover, cloud-based infrastructures are often accessible from the ‘public’ Internet which is not inherently secure.

  • Lack of Data Control

A key benefit of using the cloud is that it lets you access your data anywhere and from any device. But with great freedom comes great responsibility — if your files are stored on someone else’s servers, you have little control over them. If something happens to those servers (e.g., they’re hacked), then your data could be compromised too.

  • Poor Data Management

Nowadays, most organizations store and manage their data in the cloud. However, they find it challenging due to differences in capabilities across the environment, storage performance, and lack of clear data governance and controls. Poor data quality and lack of data discoverability are some of the biggest challenges while securing your data in the cloud. 

Identifying associated security risks should be a priority for organizations. Unmanaged data often attracts cyber threats due to weak security posture and lack of monitoring. Organizations should consider how well a cloud service provider is integrated across their technology stack to ensure data management security in the cloud.

  • APIs and Storage Gateways

Some businesses utilize storage gateways or cloud storage APIs to assist in moving their data to the cloud. These APIs or storage gateways act as a bridge between the storage provider and the user. But an unreliable API or gateway could seriously harm your data and compromise your cloud storage security.

These vulnerabilities could be used by cybercriminals to detect and exploit potential ways for accessing and exfiltrating sensitive information and data from a company’s cloud environment. Moreover, these APIs have strict usage limits and may not be suitable for high-capacity applications. If you opt to use a cloud storage API or gateway, make sure to pick one with reliable security features and appropriate usage limits.

  • Service Outages and Downtime

If there’s an outage or disruption at an Amazon data center or if Microsoft experiences an issue with Azure, your data will be inaccessible until the problem is fixed. Sometimes it can take days for service to be restored. In extreme cases like these, data loss has been known to occur.

Recently, AWS experienced an outage due to poor preparation. Servers were used more frequently than Amazon had anticipated, which led to another temporary shutdown of some of their system’s components and the businesses that depended on them.

  • The Dark Side of Data Syncing

With most Cloud services, it’s possible to sync files across multiple devices. This sounds great at first glance — imagine having your important documents on every device you own! But syncing presents a major security risk as all devices are constantly uploading and downloading files from the cloud server. Any malware on one device will spread to other devices automatically when they sync up with the cloud server — no user interaction is needed!

How to Protect Your Files on Cloud Storage?

With recent events regarding password leaks, privacy breaches, and reported vulnerabilities, it’s clear that websites need to improve the way they store user data. 

“Worldwide internet users experienced 52 million data breaches in the second quarter of 2022, a 56 percent decrease from last year. The fourth quarter of 2020 saw approximately 125 million data breaches occurrences, the greatest number recorded throughout the measurement period.”

Since cloud databases are becoming the go-to solution for storing data online, it’s time we look at some cloud security solutions to know how to protect your cloud data from hackers.

Weak and stolen passwords, back doors, malware, social engineering, insider threats, inappropriate configuration, and user mistakes are among the most common ways data can be compromised. Most attacks fall into the ransomware category, while some fall into the doxware category, where the goal is to release confidential information to cause harm to a company. There must be procedures to eliminate these vulnerabilities and safeguard your important data to prevent putting it at risk, and there is- zero knowledge cloud storage.

If you are concerned about cloud data security, here are some security solutions on how to better secure files in cloud storage.

File Encryption

If you use cloud storage for sensitive data, encryption should be your first line of defense. Encrypting files before uploading them to the cloud eliminates the option of hackers accessing them without your knowledge. Learn more about how to encrypt files in the cloud.

  • Encrypting with a password
  • Encrypting with a passphrase
  • Using an encryption tool to build safety into the file itself

File Level Encryption Benefits for Cloud Storage Security

When it comes to Cloud data security, most people assume that the cloud provider has advanced security measures in place, which they do in the way of disk-level encryption (it’s a way to protect sensitive data at the hardware level by encrypting data on a disk drive). But did you know you can secure data even more with additional file-level encryption? File-level encryption is a powerful tool that can help ensure the safety of cloud storage.

  • Zero Knowledge: One of the biggest benefits of file-level encryption is zero knowledge. Zero-knowledge is achieved when a tool like Anchor encrypts your files before they’re stored in cloud storage security, which means that the cloud storage provider themselves are unable to view your sensitive file data. This prevents data loss in the most optimal way since both the cloud provider and/or any potential data threats are in no way able to access your files- pure end-to-end encryption! 
  • Secure File Sharing: Another benefit of file-level encryption is secure file sharing. Since only authorized users will have access to files, you can share sensitive documents with partners or clients without worrying about them being compromised by hackers or other third parties. The concept of ‘never assume, always verify’ is a core aspect of zero-trust architecture.
  • No Risk of Data Leaks: File-level encryption ensures that no one can read the contents of your files without your permission. This means that even if there is a data breach at the provider’s end, there would be no risk of sensitive information being leaked to third parties.

data backup

Promote Regular Backups

Even after storing your data in the cloud, it’s essential to have regular backups. No matter how reliable a cloud storage provider seems, it’s always better to back up your data elsewhere. It ensures that your sensitive or valuable data won’t be lost permanently in the event of data theft or data breach incidents. Regular data backups are the most efficient way to avoid data loss. It is recommended to set a proper schedule for the operation and a clear representation of what type of data is eligible for backups if you want to ensure the safety of your cloud data. 

Enable account alerts

Setting up alerts is a useful way to know if your Cloud storage provider is experiencing an outage. Services like Box and Dropbox make it easy for users to receive notifications when their accounts are nearing capacity or have been compromised. 

Account alerts typically come in two forms:

  • Security Alerts: These are email notifications sent in response to certain actions performed on your account. For example, you may receive a security alert if someone tries to sign into your account from a different location than usual or if more than ten passwords are entered incorrectly within 24 hours. The alert will tell you what happened, and it will also tell you how many times an action has been performed and when it occurred.
  • Suspicious Activity Alerts: These email notifications let you know when anyone else logs into your account besides yourself. Suspicious Activity Alerts provide details about the activity when someone tries to access your data. This information can help you quickly understand what happened, diagnose issues, and determine how to respond appropriately.

Consider Cloud Security Architecture

A cloud storage security architecture defines how a business protects and secures its applications and data in the cloud. When shifting workloads to the cloud, a security architecture clearly defines how a company should identify users, define and manage their access, and protect data and applications with appropriate security controls across data and networks. Moreover, it provides security and threat posture visibility and helps define and prioritize risks.

Building a robust security framework or architecture in the cloud can be challenging because there are different types of secure cloud storage options to choose from. Some are free, and others charge monthly subscription fees or by the gigabyte of data used. Some require software installation, while others are browser-based only, and some offer more security than others. It’s important to consider all these factors when choosing an online storage solution because they could affect how secure your data is or how much cost is involved in using the service over time.

types of malware

Invest in a Strong Anti-Malware Program

“The most common way people get hacked is through malware,” says Darren Hayes.

Cloud storage security often comes with anti-virus programs that scan files when they’re uploaded or downloaded on the host server. However, this level of protection isn’t always enough. It’s best to install an antivirus program on your PC or mobile device that scans all incoming emails for viruses and periodically scans downloads from the cloud service to ensure no new viruses have been downloaded into your account.

Set User Permissions

When uploading files to the cloud, ensure the permissions are set so that only those who need access can access them. If you’re using a shared account for business purposes, set permissions so only specific people can view certain files. You can create groups within each file so multiple people can read or write content simultaneously.

Take Extra Steps to Protect Confidential Data 

Suppose you run a small business or work with sensitive information like Social Security numbers or financial records. In that case, it’s best to upload these documents to a cloud service only if you have the right type of cloud storage security in place. By implementing a file-based encryption protocol you can protect your data by requiring very specific access permissions. 

Adopt Policies For Privacy Or Security Issues

Don’t overlook security and privacy concerns when making your initial move to the cloud. Most data breaches can be avoided with the proper framework and tools. Introduce new policies for employees, so they know how to safely handle corporate files and data. This is especially true if your company moves toward a hybrid or remote workforce.

Why is it Necessary to Secure Your Data on the Cloud?

Data is the most valuable asset for businesses; therefore, it must be protected from unauthorized access. Migrating data to the cloud has forced organizations to reassess their cybersecurity. The data stored in the cloud might be floating between local and remote systems, and it’s always internet-accessible- therefore it is critical to map out the process of data flow to be able to monitor its path and location at all times.

Cloud computing is growing exponentially as a primary way to store data for organizations and individuals. Organizations are spending more on secure cloud storage services to host their data in the cloud.

According to Gartner, global spending on public cloud services is expected to increase significantly over the next four years, from $182 billion in 2018 to $331 billion in 2022.

Unfortunately, due to this expansion, cybercriminals have realized the value of cloud-based targets and have found sophisticated ways to exploit them. Although cloud storage providers take security measures for cloud data protection, there is a lot you can do to protect your data in the cloud. Above, we have discussed some of the most common ways to protect your data in the cloud.

Secure Your Cloud Data with Anchor

Whether you are an individual, SMB, or enterprise, it’s essential to ensure that your devices and networks are as secure as possible. Make sure that your devices and network are protected with robust security solutions built for the cloud. However, with the technological evolution and the popularity of cloud storage, it’s highly recommended to take further steps to protect your data.

Secure your files and data in the cloud with Anchor. Anchor is an advanced file encryption software that turns any cloud storage into a highly secure, zero-knowledge vault with unified security to make your data more secure. Anchor enables powerfully simple file sharing from secure cloud storage.