Small Business Guide For Protecting Data and Privacy In the Cloud

The use of cloud-based infrastructures has been skyrocketing over the last decade. The technology that underpins cloud architectures has evolved rapidly, providing every business with an opportunity to move onto a scalable, cost-effective, and highly-accessible cloud environment. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are migrating their infrastructures to the cloud, regardless of the industry their company operates in. This trend, however, has also provided more room for cyberattacks and data breaches. 

In this informative graph by Statista, you can see that the number of annual data breaches has been on the rise during the last 15 years, with an obvious bump in cyber attacks happening parallel to the increase in the utilization of modern cloud technologies, especially in terms of cloud architectures. This trend is somewhat expected, and although these threats to data security can potentially be extremely hazardous to both small businesses and enterprise-level companies, they are actually quite easily preventable. 

Having an effective data security strategy in place can help you mitigate almost all data and privacy breaches, therefore ensuring business continuity and – ultimately – success. Here are some actionable tips for reaching appropriate data security levels in the cloud. 

Begin With an Air-Tight Data Security Strategy

Instead of putting out fires as they crop up, we strongly recommend coming up with an all-encompassing data and privacy protection plan that will tackle all the potential risks in a multi-faceted manner. 

When creating this type of strategy, you should take into consideration all the components of your IT infrastructure and operational systems, all communication networks and channels, as well implement an adequate security-focused mindset among your employees and across all your departments. A detailed approach and a strong grasp of all the necessary policies and procedures are paramount, as that is the only way to produce an air-tight IT security strategy. 

This plan should include a clear methodology on how to tackle ongoing data protection and resource security, on both granular data and system architecture levels. It should be an actionable guide on how to tackle breaches and cyber-attacks once they take place. A detailed incident-response strategy makes sure that your business is always one step ahead should a disastrous event happen, instead of being forced to make rash decisions on the spot that almost always include pricey trade-offs. 

Secure an Entire Ecosystem of Interconnected Devices (Including Personal Devices Owned by Your Staff)

Most small-to-medium-sized companies tend to have a rather loose attitude toward the potential risks of employees using business accounts on their personal smartphones and other portable devices. Every business has a complex ecosystem of interconnected accounts, communication channels, and profiles that permeate a huge network of various devices, each posing as a potential entry point for cyber attacks. 

We strongly recommend that your data and privacy protection plan covers this type of security risk and covers comprehensive best practice policies in terms of location tracking, data archiving and retention, Internet connection monitoring, etc. These issues require your utmost attention, now more than ever, as numerous businesses have been forced to allow their staff members to work remotely due to the pandemic

Incorporate Adequate Malware Protection 

Malware protection is a paramount data security component across all your computers, devices, and networks. These protection layers can prevent massive amounts of data damage, secure the privacy of both your employees and your clients, and perform these tasks automatically. 

Be sure to protect yourself from malware by using the following best practice tips:

Turn On Router/Network Firewall – This is your first line of defense so be sure to turn your router’s built-in firewall.

Use Malware Protection Across Your Devices – Choose reputable security software that is capable of protecting you without hindering the performance of your systems or slowing down your workflows. 

Keep Your Emails and Other Channels Clean – Implement malware protection and anti spam tools that will keep your business protected against shady emails and other potentially disastrous email-based attacks. We also recommend opting for effective email archiving solutions that will help you automate storing and managing your email data in a cost-efficient way. 

Use Automatic Software Updates

Cybercriminals can easily figure out if a company is using an outdated software version on their systems and exploit this vulnerability to attack their sensitive data and/or compromise privacy. Keeping your systems and devices updated via proper security settings can help you mitigate these risks. 

Develop a Security-Oriented Mindset Across Your Employees

Your data, business environment, infrastructure, and networks are only as protected as your weakest security point. This means that, even though all the components of your privacy and data security strategy are properly in place, it can all be compromised by a single data breach event caused by the negligence of one of your employees. 

This is why it is crucial to make sure that all staff members across all the departments understand why your security policy is important and how it should be implemented for best performance results

Summing Up 

With cloud-based infrastructures becoming the optimal choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes, it is not surprising that cybersecurity threats have evolved accordingly. Data and privacy protection are among top priorities now more than ever, which means that developing and implementing an effective security strategy across all your systems, networks, communication channels, and departments is critical and a prerequisite for running a successful company