How to Keep Your Files Safe When Using the Cloud
While the cloud presents a number of opportunities for large scale data storage accessible anywhere, anytime, many potential users still harbor concerns about data security. Can the cloud really be as secure as an in-house private server?
Fortunately, many top FTP cloud providers recognize the importance of data security, and have taken steps to ensure data is as safe on their cloud servers as it would be on any other solution. But, not every provider offers the same levels of data protection. And, not every company using a cloud FTP server takes the necessary steps to keep data safe.
If you want to ensure you’re storing data on a secure cloud server, you need to take the following actions and select a FTP cloud solution that can support your data protection efforts.
Enforce Passwords and Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Unfortunately, when it comes to passwords, your pet’s name followed by your numeric birth date doesn’t cut it anymore. Passwords can be one of the weakest defenses against a potential hacker. In fact, they’re a common entry point for today’s hackers; once a weak password is cracked, countless files are free for the taking.
Think about the number of passwords you input each day – one for your email, different applications, even one on your phone. Due to the sheer number people have to use and remember, it’s easy to be a little careless when it comes to passwords. But, carelessness leads to vulnerability.
To keep your FTP cloud server secure, it’s crucial that all your users abide by the password requirements that your company outlines. Determine password requirements like length, upper and lowercase letters, number and symbol usage, and how often passwords are changed. Communicate these password guidelines, so your users know what’s expected and why.
Passwords alone don’t have to be your only line of defense against hacker access. There are other multi-factor authentication protections provided by top FTP cloud services to keep your data secure. For example, you could require users to enter a second one-time password (OTP) each time they access their account. This is a code that’s instantly created and delivered via email, text message or mobile app once a user’s initial password has been entered. This second form of authentication gives your data an added layer of protection.
Limit Access Based on Job Roles
An intern doesn’t need the same level of access to your data that the CEO does. For that reason, you should choose an FTP cloud solution that lets you limit access to files and data based on job roles. Your administrators can grant access on a need-to-know basis, so your most sensitive files have heightened protections.
Access limitations can be applied to clients and third-party vendors or partners, too. When you have granular control over data access, you can make sure data is protected from intentional and unintentional leaks. One feature that you should look for in a top FTP provider is expiring file sharing links. You can send links to specific files to users that may not need total access to your solution. Because these links expire after a certain period of time or as soon as they are used, you don’t have to worry about hackers accessing data through that link in the future.
Backup Your Documents
If you’re considering a FTP cloud solution, you might be worried about the absence of an on-site server. What happens if there is a disaster? Will your data be lost? How can files be protected on a remote server? Talk to the FTP providers you’re considering about the backup capabilities of their solution.
When disaster happens, like a flood, fire, or even a simple server crash, you want to know that your data won’t be compromised. Choose a solution that enables frequent, regular data backup capabilities, so you have peace of mind that you’ll never lose that important folder or sensitive file.
Ensure Employees Aren’t Using the Cloud for Personal Information
While this point might seem like a no-brainer, it’s a standard that many companies forget to communicate or don’t realize is a problem. To protect data on your FTP cloud solution, you need to set strictly enforced standards about file sharing usage. Communicate to employees that your FTP cloud solution is to be used to company purposes only.
One reason it’s important to add guidelines on personal vs. company FTP solution use to your data policy is the increasing use of personal devices in the workplace. Today, a huge number of employees BYOD (bring your own device) and conduct business via these phones and tablets. Such frequent use makes it easy to download a file from your the FTP cloud to a personal device. If the device is lost or stolen, that data and access to your server are now compromised. When you take steps to prevent personal use, however, you strengthen the wall of security around your data.
Data should be protected at every touch point, from storage on your computer, storage in the cloud, and transmission from one party to another. The only way to keep data safe is with encryption. Encryption is one of the best ways to protect data. Think of it as the scrambling your data so it is unreadable, unless the recipient has the key to unlock it. With a top FTP cloud provider, you won’t have to worry about data on the server falling into the wrong hands.
Talk to the providers you’re considering about keeping data safe in two areas:
In-transit - Data that is being transmitted to another party, uploaded, or downloaded
At-rest - Data that is stored on a server’s hard drive
An FTP cloud solution can be as secure as any other FTP solution, as long as you take the proper steps and choose the right solution. Look for an FTP provider that goes the extra mile when it comes to data security, i.e. the strongest encryption levels, multi-factor authentication capabilities, and granular access controls.
But, don’t forget – you need to do your part, too. Communicate your data security policy to your users, providing password guidelines and BYOD restrictions. With a top FTP cloud provider and a robust data security policy, you can easily keep hackers at bay.
Learn more about FTP cloud security measures in this free guide, Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud: Understanding the Difference for Your File Sharing.
About Martin Horan
Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.