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As cloud adoption continues to grow rapidly at the enterprise level, IT and security departments must provide for secure use of cloud storage and services.
A Definition of Cloud Storage Security
While cloud storage is convenient and gives employees access to their data anywhere, at any time, on nearly any device, cloud storage security is a top concern for organizations’ IT and security departments. The benefits brought by cloud storage – from scalability and accessibility to decreased IT overhead – are driving rapid adoption at enterprises around the world, and there are steps that companies should take to improve cloud storage security and keep sensitive data safe and secure in the cloud.
The Need for Cloud Storage Security
Businesses and enterprises use cloud services because they provide cost-effective and flexible alternatives to expensive, locally-implemented hardware. But conducting business in the cloud means that confidential files and sensitive data are exposed to new risks, as cloud-stored data resides outside of the limits of many safeguards used to protect sensitive data held on-premise. As such, enterprises must take additional measures to secure cloud storage beyond the sometimes basic protections offered by providers.
The rise of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and the connected office has also made enterprises more reliant on cloud technology, albeit while driving security risks. Even smart printers have been found vulnerable to data leakage, and as more corporate devices become internet-connected, the potential for compromise or unintended leakage increases.
Cloud Storage Security Basics
As enterprises move further along the cloud adoption curve, cloud storage security is becoming a top priority – both in enterprises’ IT architecture and information security strategies. Companies now recognize that it’s critical to protect sensitive data while enabling employees to enjoy the performance and flexibility of the cloud.
Cloud storage providers and enterprises share responsibility for cloud storage security. Cloud storage providers implement baseline protections for their platforms and the data they process, such authentication, access control, and encryption. From there, most enterprises supplement these protections with added security measures of their own to bolster cloud data protection and tighten access to sensitive information in the cloud.
Digital Guardian Podcast Episode 23: Gunter Ollmann on Cloud Security
Cloud Storage Security Challenges
One of the biggest challenges with cloud storage security is that employees use free file sharing and cloud storage services that are not approved by the organization and may not meet minimum security standards. Knowingly or not, employees can put company data at risk by using these services, particularly without the IT department’s knowledge or approval.
In addition to implementing security solutions to protect sensitive data against unauthorized access or egress and enforce cloud security policies, it is critical that organizations educate their employees on the risks posed by sharing and storing information in the cloud. Additionally, organizations must take the appropriate security measures to mitigate cloud storage security risks introduced by employees who may inadvertently use services and applications that don’t meet the company’s security standards.
Cloud Storage Security Solutions
Data protection solutions for cloud storage security provide complete visibility and policy-based control over how data can be moved to and from the cloud, ensuring that only authorized data leaves the company’s environment and that data access is limited to authorized parties. In doing so, companies can enforce stricter protections around sensitive data than what many cloud storage providers offer and provide a second line of defense in the event that a provider has a security compromise.
When choosing a cloud storage security solution, enterprises should be sure that it provides continuous monitoring and visibility for all data interactions with cloud storage applications, provides granular control over file movement based on browser and OS events involving file sharing and cloud storage sites, integrates with leading cloud storage providers to be able to extend data protection measures to data stored in the cloud, automatically encrypts sensitive data prior to egress, accurately classifies any data downloaded from web applications, and delivers forensic event logs for effective alerting, reporting, and policy creation.