Eluding the Dark Side of Cloud Computing: Cloud Data Loss Prevention 101

Shalom Carmel CIO @ GlobalDots
5 Min read

Publicly Stored Data is Never 100% Safe

The benefits of a high-quality cloud service are well-known: Speed, scalability, improved agility, and reduced maintenance. On the flip side, your most valuable & sensitive business assets rely on centralized third-party servers. All these benefits mean that your business data’s safety, integrity, and accessibility depend on that third party living up to its share of the responsibility.

In the cloud, all data is, to some extent, publicly accessible. The security risk of it goes without saying. If your cloud computing provider experiences service or security issues – whether as a result of technical circumstances or a malicious attack – it will survive. But your business might as well be doomed. Understanding that cloud storage isn’t 100% bulletproof and the ways to mitigate this risk is a vital part of your business continuity strategy in 2022 and beyond.  

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How does Data Get Lost in the Cloud?

User Error/Accidental Deletion

This happens when an employee accidentally deletes or overwrites files on their computer without realizing they have done so. If this occurs with sensitive information such as financial records, then there could be serious consequences for your business.

Data deletion due to human mistakes is one of the leading reasons for data elimination, and it’s one of the most harmful because it is typically undetectable until much later. As a result, data loss can go on for longer than most traditional backup methods can deal with.

Overwriting Data

Programs or users can accidentally overwrite data. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications can be another source of significant data loss. These apps provide continuous access to a large amount of information. New information can overwrite previous information, leading to partial information loss.

Malicious Action

Malware attacks are also an important cause of data loss. A virus that infects your computer could delete files, corrupt databases, or destroy entire hard drives. One of the best ways to detour this is to use antivirus software and keep it updated regularly.

Consider subscribing to one of many cloud services that offer automatic malware scanning and removal if you do not have the time and resources to keep up with the updates.

Cloud Data Loss Prevention How-To?

Perform A Cloud Risk Assessment

Before storing any sensitive data on the cloud, ensure you understand the risks with each service provider. For example, if you plan to store credit card information online, be aware that some providers may charge fees for processing transactions.

Also, check whether there are geographic restrictions on where you can use certain services (for instance, Amazon Web Services does not allow its users to access their servers from China). If your company considers using an external storage solution such as Dropbox or Google Drive, it’s important to know how secure these solutions are before uploading confidential files.

Backup Your Data

It’s a good idea to back up all of the data stored in your network and cloud-based applications at least once per week. It will ensure that any changes made by employees won’t affect critical business operations. Check out our DR solution page for more details on cloud computing backup solutions.

Educate Employees About Phishing

Phishers often target individuals with easy access to sensitive information because they believe this type of person would be more likely to fall for a scam. Educating employees about common scams like email spoofing and social engineering could help prevent them from falling victim to cyber-attacks.

Rethink Your Authentication Policy

The world’s 10 most common passwords are probably as old as passwords themselves:

  • 123456 – Less than one second to crack, 103M+ uses counted
  • 123456789 – Less than one second to crack, 46M+ uses counted
  • 12345 – Less than one second to crack, 32M+ uses counted
  • qwerty – Less than one second to crack, 22M+ uses counted
  • password – Less than one second to crack, 20M+ uses counted
  • 12345678 – Less than one second to crack, 14M+ uses counted
  • 111111 – Less than one second to crack, 13M+ uses counted
  • 123123 – Less than one second to crack, 10M+ uses counted
  • 1234567890 – Less than one second to crack, 9.6M+ uses counted
  • 1234567 – Less than one second to crack, 9.3M uses counted

Set rules to create strong passwords which are not easily guessed or cracked. Ensure password expiration happens every 90 days with no reuse allowed.

However, while passwords are a 50-year old paradigm, their disadvantages keep piling up as cybercrime initiatives surge:

  • 81% of all malicious attacks (and all Account Takeover attacks) leverage compromised credentials.
  • The global cost of ATOs in 2021 was an overwhelming $16B – a 300% leap from 2020.
  • 40% of all IT helpdesk tickets are password-related.

To learn more about Passwordless Authentication, check out this blog, or download the full eBook: Move Beyond Passwords.

Constant Update of Cloud Security Posture

Cloud computing requires a continuous updating of the security posture. And to achieve this, a security professional should periodically review IT security measures and highlight areas that need enhancement.

This helps ensure that the information technology (IT) security risk occurs at a more controlled level rather than allowing things to happen automatically. Download a Free eBook to learn more about Cloud Security posture.

Minimize Excessive Entitlement

Minimizing excessive entitlement with solutions like CIEM, CWPP or CNAPP will ensure that an authorized user can only carry out the specific task for which he has been provided with access and no more.

For example, a user should be given access to edit a file or to adjust computer settings only. He should not be allowed to delete files from the organization’s server unless it is specifically mentioned in his job role. Remote access can be controlled using firewalls and proxy servers. Check out our on-demand webinar to learn more about Cloud security.

Choose the Right Cloud Provider

If you’re going to outsource your data storage needs, ensure that it’s done securely by using an encrypted connection between your computer or mobile device and the server where your files are stored. This is very important if you have sensitive information on file servers at work.

Strive towards a well-architected framework & good cloud governance

The Well-Architected Framework concept contains design principles and architectural best practices for building and running cloud workloads. Cloud Governance is a set of processes and technologies for managing cloud environments.

You can use this framework to specify your security, cost, and continuing supervision requirements for your cloud journey, as well as ensure that processes are optimized and followed consistently, and apply solutions to assess cloud health at scale.

For a practical guide on how to achieve Well-Architected Framework and Cloud Governance, download our free eBook.

The Cloud Computing Data Loss Prevention Conclusion

Data loss is a common concern for many companies and individuals. Many circumstances can lead to data loss, such as damage to your company’s reputation or individuals whose personal information is exposed or stolen. But there are ways you can subdue the chances of data loss and preserve the security of your information in cloud storage. 

The best way to prevent data loss in the cloud is by following these steps: perform a cloud risk assessment, backup your data at least once per week, educate employees about phishing emails or social engineering, and choose the right provider.

Contact GlobalDots today for a quick, seamless integration of your precise cloud security & governance needs.

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