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5 Ways to Safely Use Cloud-Based Solutions for Secure File Transfer
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on June 8th, 2017

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5 Ways to Safely Use Cloud-Based Solutions for Secure File Transfer

The Cloud

For businesses that need a way to store, manage and share files and information, the cloud has become the go-to solution. It is the present and future of data management because of its mobility and scalability. These benefits are significant and worthwhile, but there’s more you need to consider. Whether you’re already relying on a cloud-based solution or planning to implement one soon, your top focus should be on secure file transfer.

There is a seemingly bottomless pool of cloud providers on the market, all boasting various features and advantages, yet not all of them address the security risks inherent in cloud utilization. With the immense threats facing enterprise information security today, you can’t afford to put your customer, business or employee data on the line. If you’re not well educated on the most secure ways to use cloud-based solutions for file transfer, you could render your organization vulnerable to costly, damaging occurrences of data leakage, breaches or mismanagement.  

It’s important to take a step back and question whether your company is safely employing cloud solutions. Make sure you can check off these five essential factors in secure file transfer via the cloud.

1. Beware the Public Cloud

Public cloud options may brag desirable conveniences like cost efficiency or simplicity, but you could be setting your organization up for massive expenses and headaches in the form of data breaches and reputational damage down the line. One of the biggest mistakes an enterprise can make in choosing a file transfer provider is to opt for one that operates from the public cloud, like many consumer-grade products do.These providers do not own or manage any infrastructure, so they have no visibility or control over where it is hosted. In essence, your mission-critical business data could be located anywhere on the planet at any time. And let’s not forget that different countries have different rules regarding data privacy, including access control as well as the security and monitoring of data facilities.

Your most secure option is a private, business-grade solution that relieves these security concerns by always being transparent about where your data is housed and how it is both physically and digitally protected while under their care. In fact, with a provider like FTP Today, you can even restrict site access by country or set granular permissions down to the individual user level.

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2. Enforce Robust Password Policies

When it comes to cybercriminal activity, cracking passwords is one of the easiest ways to breach company systems and files. That’s because many organizations are not executing strong password policies. This can be a majorly risky issue in terms of using cloud-based solutions for secure file transfer.

Be sure to put a strong password enforcement policy in place as soon as possible, outlining exactly what types of passwords can be used, how often they must be changed and other important rules that employees will have to agree to follow. Use these best practices as a foundation:

  • All passwords must be a combination of numbers, letters (both upper and lowercase) and special characters
  • Each password must be changed on a regular basis, typically every few months, to render any potentially compromised passwords worthless
  • Whenever password information is transmitted, it must be encrypted at all times
  • The penalties for violating the password enforcement policy should be severe
  • Choose a provider that allows administrators to manage all aspects of password strength requirements and expiration intervals

3. Enable Two-Step Verification

This expert advice goes hand-in-hand with your password policy efforts. Your cloud solution should make all users undergo multi-factor authentication when accessing the file server. The purpose of this is threefold:

  1. Minimize vulnerability to external attacks
  2. Ensure legitimate entrants
  3. Fortify the security of your data

Two-step authentication requires both a password and an additional form of authentication, like a numerical code or an IP address, before access can be granted. SSH-key authentication, in lieu of a password, makes user access to critical business data both more secure and easier to manage, regardless of how people are connecting to the server. Especially when remote workers are logging in via various connections, two-factor authentication is a significant way to help safeguard your company’s data. Rely on a file transfer solution that has a robust management interface for configuring user authentication via passwords and/or SSH keys as well as a second authentication factor. It’s also best for administrators to have the capability to disable file sharing through public links and require user authentication for all file access.

4. Employ Encryption Capabilities

Does your cloud solution feature encryption for secure file transfer? This is, by far, one of the best ways to safeguard your information. This advanced security technique is a means of scrambling your data so that it’s unreadable to anyone without the appropriate key. SFTP cloud providers enable you to encrypt files in two ways:

  1. At rest, to ensure that your data is secure while on the server's hard drive
  2. In transit, to ensure that your data is secure while in motion during the uploading or downloading process

SFTP cloud solutions also employ 256-bit advanced encryption methods to help add as much security as possible, as well as dedicated IP support to the cloud-based solution they're using. It is extremely important to go with a provider that delivers this high level of security functionality.

5. Assign User Roles

An essential element of secure file transfer is the ability to manage access on a very granular level. You must be able to deny permissions to certain files based on the roles that shouldn't have access to them, as well as prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands, even those of employees within your organization.

The right cloud-based file transfer solution for your business should also enable you to have multiple site administrators, as well as sub-site administrators in charge of teams of users. Without this capability, you’re unable to delegate administration based on specific departments. Requiring multiple administrators to share the same login credentials is not only a security risk, but it also violates most compliance regulations.

SFTP cloud providers like FTP Today give you greater control, empowering administrators to manage how people use your files down to the individual user account. Safely securing all your files on your FTP server, you can restrict access to certain directories or individual files within a directory based on the role of users who need that information to do their jobs.

Don’t continue to wonder whether your company is safely employing cloud-based file transfer solutions. Take action now to protect your business and its critical data assets. 

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.

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