3 tips to secure your cloud file storage

Cloud file storage offers many benefits – streamlined collaboration, minimal downtime, and remote access, to name a few. Unfortunately, these benefits don’t come without some drawbacks, security being the primary concern for businesses.

According to a recent report by TechRadar, cybercrime is becoming more and more costly for small and large companies alike.

In fact, over a 12-month period, expenses related to cybercrime and data security breaches increased by a staggering 11% to over $2.6 million per business. In other words, it’s not really an option to leave the security of your data up to chance.

And while there’s no question that you’re on the hook for local machines and files, the cloud (especially the public cloud) isn’t so straightforward. Whose responsibility is it to secure them? You? The cloud provider?

As it turns out, it’s a joint effort.

You’ll need to choose a cloud provider that is reputable and secure, with measures on their end to prevent data breaches.

On your end, we’ve come up with three tips to help keep your data – and your clients’ data – out of the wrong hands.

1. Don’t underestimate the importance of strong passwords

Using a strong password might seem like an obvious step in any IT process, but it could be the difference between data security and data vulnerability.

Incredibly, 81% of hacking-related breaches used either stolen or weak passwords to gain access to protected data. If that isn’t enough to make you rethink your passwords, we don’t know what is.

Here are two ways to ensure your passwords are as hacker-proof as possible.

Use strong passwords

When it comes to cloud file storage, your best line of defense is a strong password. That doesn’t mean your dog’s name followed by your birthday, or your favorite line from your favorite song.

Though, we like those too.

Strong passwords are long and contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters (e.g. !, $, &). You might like to come up with a random, nonsensical sentence or phrase, as these tend to be memorable.

That being said, we strongly recommend using a password manager to keep track of your passwords. That way, you can feel confident using a complex, strong password without fearing that you’ll forget it next time you try to access your files remotely.

Use different passwords for different services

Do not reuse passwords.

Instead, come up with a unique password for every service. If a hacker learns a single one of your passwords that you’re reusing, they can have free reign to access anything else of yours.

Again, a password manager can even auto-generate a secure password so that you don’t have to remember every single complex one that you have.

2. Enable multi-factor authentication

On top of your super-strong password, we suggest enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA adds an additional layer of security to the login process because it requires you to verify your information 2+ times, in different ways.

Typically, the app will send a unique pin or code to your phone, which you then enter on-screen to prove that you are, in fact, the owner of the account. That’s on top of your original password.

Security questions – which are often something along the lines of ‘What city were you born in?’ or ‘What was the make of your first car?’ – are another common form of MFA.

If you’re unsure which MFA types are right for you, or if your cloud-based file storage app doesn’t offer MFA, get in touch with us.

3. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi

Yes, accessing your data remotely is one of the top benefits of cloud-based file storage, but it’s critical to be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks.

Public Wi-Fi networks are not as secure as, say, your office network.

Any app or account that you log in to on that network is at an increased risk of a security breach – that includes your email account, your cloud-based apps, your social media accounts, and even your online banking.

Why? Because you’re transmitting information through a public network that can be seen by others. If an onlooker were to capture your information in the connection between your computer, the public Wi-Fi, and the cloud… it could spell serious trouble.

If you really need to access your personal or business accounts at the airport or in your local coffee shop, use your phone as a hotspot instead.

Alternatively, if you travel often or prefer working away from the home or office, invest in a virtual private network (VPN). Using a VPN will enhance your privacy and security by creating a much more secure private tunnel to your cloud files, even when using a public Wi-Fi network.

Of course, you can always trust your trusted IT team for advice on VPNs.

Want to learn more about Dash2? Check out the team.