How to Stay in Control of Your Files Even When Sharing on the Cloud
When the term “cloud computing” was coined back in 2006 everyone was intrigued by how it worked. Fast forward more than a decade and not much has changed. Just because you might not fully understand how the cloud works, doesn’t mean you should ignore it. This is not an “ignorance is bliss” situation. You need to take control of your cloud file sharing process.
Explore three ways you can stay in control of your cloud file sharing security, and find out four mistakes that cause companies to lose control.
3 Ways to Stay in Control
1. Using Secure Networks Exclusively
First and foremost, you only need to log into your cloud file sharing solution from secure networks. While it might be tempting to “accept” Starbucks or McDonald’s terms to use their free Wi-Fi networks, you could be doing more harm than good.
Hackers have numerous techniques for compromising data security on public Wi-Fi networks. A common one is the “Man in the Middle” approach. With this attack, a hacker intercepts traffic between your laptop or mobile device and the website you’re trying to access. Your device thinks the hacker’s machine is the internet access point. So, your data could be compromised without you even knowing it.
The only way to ensure your data isn’t compromised by public Wi-Fi networks is to simply not use them. Only access your files on secure networks or from a secure cloud solution.
Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud: Understanding the Difference for Your File Sharing
Use this guide to answer your most common questions related to the cloud.
2. Consistently Enforcing and Protecting Strong Passwords
Secure passwords are crucial for keeping your data safe. Do you have a policy in place so your team understands secure password best practices? Many companies do have a password policy, but it’s not regularly communicated or consistently enforced.
If you’re building your password policy, be sure you’re incorporated the following guidelines:
- Avoid using the same password over multiple platforms
- Add letters, numbers, and symbols to your passwords
- Require password changes every 90 days
- Do not use a password related to your personal life
- Add multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication, the process of using another measure to validate an identity, is an especially valuable password security asset. This can take the form of a number sent to your phone or an additional security question for you to answer. Also, ensure your employees are adhering to your password standards with automatic prompts to change passwords and requirements regarding numbers, symbols, and more.
3. Establish and Communicate a Data Security Process
While you can take as many personal actions as you want to protect your files, it’s hard to be sure your coworkers and employees are doing the same.
It takes more than just having a data security policy in place. You also have to communicate that policy to your employees and make it easy for them to follow. First, you need to identify someone who will be directly responsible for staff education, and set aside time to make regular trainings a part of your internal security policy.
Also, it’s important that you regularly update policies and communicate those updates to your teams. Hackers’ methods change each day, and you need a cloud security policy that keeps up with those changes.
Another way to support your data security process is by reviewing your teams’ privacy settings. Administrators need to exert control over end-user permissions to ensure the right files are transferred securely at all times. Ensure access to your files is exclusively granted on a need-to-know basis.
4 Easy Ways to Lose Control
1. Lacking Knowledge about File Sharing Settings
To stay in control of your cloud file sharing security, you first have to understand how files are protected and the potential vulnerabilities you’re up against. Research the downfalls of public cloud solutions, like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Dropbox, for example, enables file sharing through links sent to other parties. When the link is sent, you have to select whether or not anyone who gets ahold of the link can access the files or just the people who were explicitly emailed the link. This is just a small feature and a simple click when the link is sent, but it could have major ramifications. When you don’t fully understand security measures, you could open your files up to compromise.
2. Eliminating Cloud Usage Altogether
Another huge mistake would be eliminating cloud file storage completely. This extreme measure leads to inconsistencies, inconveniences, and confusion. If you move to a fully on-site file sharing solution, you eliminate the possibility of remote work, and your files could still be subject to a data breach.
Instead of shutting down your cloud file sharing options altogether, you need to adopt the most secure cloud file sharing option on the market. A top could FTP solution will allow you to set access parameters based on job roles and enforce secure file sharing best practices.
3. Resorting to Scare Tactics
Scaring your employees with information about data breaches or firings for not following data security policies won’t ensure secure cloud file sharing. There’s a huge difference between scaring your employees and educating them.
To truly ensure alignment with your cloud file sharing policies, you need to invest time and resources into educating your team. Talk about the importance of data security and risks that could be associated with failure to protect data, like loss of business or noncompliance fines.
You should also create an easy-to-understand cloud security guide that’s distributed to your employees. Follow up to ensure they read the guide and are taking steps to follow its recommendations.
4. Being Disorganized
Ultimately, disorganization leads to confusion and subpar security standards. When there’s no clear set of standards or miscommunication about the standards you have, it’s easy for the wrong users to get their hands on files they shouldn't have access to.
The best way to combat disorganization is by applying the same cloud security standards across your entire organization. An industry-leading cloud file sharing solution can help you do that. For example, if you have a top solution that can restrict access by IP address, you can ensure the solution is only accessed on private, secure networks. Even if an employee tries to sign in from Starbucks, they won't be able to.
If you want to maintain control of your cloud file sharing practices, you need a secure file sharing solution to support your efforts. Solutions like FTP Today offer all the security needed to keep files safe, while still providing the convenience of using a cloud solution.
Ready to take you cloud file sharing to the next level? Explore this guide to learn more.
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.