6 Ways to Prevent a Data Breach 

The cloud is a new territory for the digital world. But with all of its benefits, there also come risks and dangers. If your business depends on the cloud to store data, you’re probably facing a number of problems about how to best secure your data. According to studies, as many as 95 percent of data breaches in the public cloud are because of customers.

In this article, we’ll discuss helpful ways you can prevent data breaches from occurring. To dive deeper into how to prevent data breaches, you’ll want to learn the basics of cloud security. Cloud Academy offers a Security Training Library with security learning paths on all the major cloud platforms. These learning paths include video-based courses, exams, questions, and plenty of hands-on labs that give you experience working in live cloud environments. Whether you’re looking to become a certified security professional, or you need to create an effective training program, Cloud Academy offers personal plans, enterprise plans, and plans for teams of all sizes in between.

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1. Education

Many organizations have found that one main cause of security threats is uneducated employees. When you show your employees how to follow proper security practices, you can mitigate your risk and prevent many cloud data breaches. To do so, you’ll want to involve the whole company, because when people are actively involved, they feel more responsible and will take ownership of their actions. 

Set up security training sessions and be sure that all employees fully understand the best practices. And don’t just limit your company to one training session per year; having sessions every so often, so that all of your employees are up-to-date on safe practices. Robert Dalton, a tech writer at Essayroo and Revieweal, says,

Establish a plan and response protocol so that employees know what to do in many different scenarios. Finally, run some security tests without announcing them so you can see if your employees take the right actions.”

2. Encrypting data at every stage

Encryption is a word that gets mentioned a lot. When it’s used properly, it can add a lot of security to your data. Data needs to be encrypted both when it is stored in the cloud as well as when it is in transit to the cloud. 

People typically put time and energy into encrypting data only at rest. When it’s stored, but it’s actually a lot more at risk when it’s moving because it goes through more potential vulnerabilities. If you really want to secure your data and prevent breaches, you need to seriously address your data encryption both at rest and in movement. And, encourage your employees to reset passwords frequently.

3. Using CASB methods

Closed access security broker (CASB) methods are systems that are managed by APIs and can be deployed for small or large use cases. It monitors the network activity and limits any operations deemed high-risk like downloading files and distributing information on the internet that’s not secure. Many companies that use cloud storage now use CASB systems. It’s a per-user basis so you would be applied the same security measures regardless of the device you use to access the cloud.

Also, keep what you really need. Don’t waste hardware and software space on unnecessary documents, files, etc. Keep your places of storage to a minimum when handling personal private data, and know where to keep this sensitive data.

4. Monitoring and auditing

Using a CASB also lets a company use its resources for monitoring, auditing, and alerting users. This allows companies to know which users and networks are accessing your public cloud data, which helps you assess the risk and address any possible security threats. By having proactive alerts, you can also find out more about your security vulnerabilities.

It’s also imperative to do background checks on all of your employees. This means granting access to some employees and denying access to everyone else. Temporary workers and/or vendors should never be allowed access to sensitive data on employees or customers. Trusting the right people for the job is crucial, especially when your company is exposed to and handling sensitive information. Finally, all third-party vendors must comply with a company’s privacy policies, as well as general privacy laws. This means that vendors (as well as ones that companies do business with on a regular basis) must comply with having background checks done — don’t assume that all vendors are harmless.

5. Micro-segmenting

Micro-segmentation is another word that gets tossed around a lot in the software industry, and it’s especially applicable to cloud communications and data storage. It helps network communication or access to those specific areas that need to communicate with each other. It’s really helpful in minimizing risk when you can reduce your network access down to just a few devices or users. Otherwise, you’re leaving your network wide open and with a poor security posture.  

It’s a security best practice to allow “just enough access”, otherwise known as JEA. This ensures that end users only have the absolute necessary access to the resources they need. That means limiting employees’ computer usage to business use only, and blocking inappropriate and/or unauthorized sites on computers. 

Hugh Younge, a cybersecurity expert at State Of Writing and Dissertation Services, explains that “hackers are constantly on the lookout for ways to steal credentials or even impersonate a user. Therefore, if you’re reducing access to resources to the bare minimum, you’re mitigating the risk. First off, it’s never a good idea to leave a business computer unattended. Also keep in mind that you should avoid using Wi-Fi networks in public places, because data can get intercepted that way, jeopardizing security and production in your company. And when using these computers, make sure that they’re password-guarded, and have the devices ask for a re-login every once in a while when there’s inactivity.”

6. Cloud governance policies

You can’t stop at just certifying a cloud application, that’s just the first step. You also want to have the right governance policies and processes in place to make sure you’re complying with data privacy mandates – your own and external ones. Train your employees on the policy and run regular checks and risk assessments so you’re constantly on top of the security world. 

In addition, transparency is crucial, especially if your organization is run by the government. Coming up with a cyber breach response plan helps both the employer and the employees to understand what the potential damages are, should a breach occur in the future. Privacy is very important to both companies and (more importantly) consumers, so employers need to be transparent to both their employees and the people that they serve. Transparency every step of the way will not only save on lost productivity but also prevent bad publicity. 

Finally, the response plan has to start with an evaluation of what was the damages were, and when they took place. You may not find out who caused the breach immediately, but this is a good stepping stone to learning who was responsible. The goal here is to take swift, decisive action so that a breach doesn’t happen again. 

Once you know more about the stakes of data breaches and how to prevent them, it’s easier to make proactive decisions. And if your customers see that your company is bending over backwards, making sure to prevent future cyber-theft attempts, that may ease their discomfort and make them feel better about trusting your company again. 

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