Cloud computing is rapidly becoming one of the best ways for law firms of all sizes to share, store, and backup data and documents. There’s simply no beating the convenience and high levels of accessibility that cloud-based environments offer. The fact that cloud environments tend to have a much larger storing capacity than traditional storage devices also make the technology ideal for backup purposes.
Like most digital storing and sharing options, however, a cloud-based environment comes with its own set of data security issues that must be taken into consideration. Cloud technology, while extremely useful and convenient, isn’t 100 percent safe. Hackers and cybercriminals are targeting cloud storage technologies more than ever, especially given the cloud’s rise in popularity.
Here are four tips to help you and your firm stay safe when taking advantage of cloud computing:
No. 1 – Take Control of the Cloud
Many companies make the mistake of assuming cloud providers handle all of the security measures that are needed to ensure the protection of data. While cloud providers often provide some level of security, it’s always better for the individual company to take matters of security into its own hands and consider BYOS (bring-your-own-security) options. BYOS data encryption, in particular, is highly recommended. This allows your company to retain all encryption algorithm keys.
In addition to providing stronger security options, directly controlling the security procedures of your firm’s cloud environment limits the amount of devices and users that have access to your data. This lowers the overall chances of an attack occurring. Including cloud security in your firm’s local data security plan can also make managing both environments easier in the long run.
No. 2 – Educate Users on Good Security Practices
A large percentage of cloud-based data breaches result from users who are not taught safe digital security practices. Security always starts with the basics. Make sure each and every user knows how to avoid malware while online, watch what they download, and practice safe password creation and storage strategies. Implementing two-factor authentication is also recommended.
No. 3 – Create Policies That Moderate Device Access
In addition to educating users on good security practices, it’s also vital for firms to regulate which devices have access to the company’s cloud server. If a computer with an active malware accesses your cloud-based network, there’s a good possibility that an attacker may be able to remotely gain access as well.
Create policies that force cloud users to keep their computers and mobile devices secure. Anti-malware and anti-virus protection should be in place at all times as well as restricted admin privileges and DNS routing mobile device management for smartphones and tablets. Secure wireless connections should also always be used.
No. 4 – Protect Data During Transfer and After
As mentioned above, encryption is integral to protecting data while it’s transferred to and from devices. Data that is stored on the cloud or on mobile devices (often referred to as inactivate data or at rest data) also needs to be protected. Control who has access to inactive data and who has workstation access. Regularly review system activity, workstation logs, and login records to make sure nothing seems amiss.
Cloud-based environments let law firms do business like never before. Whether your firm is new to the cloud or considering making a move to such an environment, keep the above security tips in mind to take advantage of everything the cloud has to offer without letting it take advantage of you. Phillip Hampton