Cloud Data Protection: Definition, Importance & Best Practices

As more companies move their assets to the cloud, the importance of cloud-based data protection is at its highest — and this is an area that many business owners are unfamiliar with.

Cloud Data Protection: Definition, Importance, & Best Practices

Regardless of the size of your business, your data may be at risk if you fail to follow certain security and protection measures, especially when it comes to data collection and storage.

In order to ensure your data as well as your customers’ data are properly protected, you must prioritize risk management and reduction.

Many businesses are moving their data to the cloud. But brands fail to realize that their existing security and protection tools and strategies are unlikely to properly protect assets that are hosted in the cloud.

With that being said, when transitioning assets to the cloud, it is imperative for brands to reconsider their current security strategy and update it for the cloud environment.

Below, we will learn more about cloud data protection, why it is important, and some best practices you should implement.

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    What is Cloud Data Protection?

    Cloud data protection is defined as a particular model of data protection that focuses on protecting data that is stored and managed in a cloud environment, regardless of whether that data is in motion or at rest.

    Cloud data protection secures and protects data from leakage, loss, or misuse from unauthorized access, exfiltration, and breaches. 

    In the event of corruption or loss, a successful data protection program will maintain your sensitive data.

    In order for a cloud data protection strategy to offer maximum protection, it must be designed to protect data of all kinds, including:

    • Data in Use: This is sensitive data that is currently being used by an application or software through access control and user authentication.
    • Data in Motion: This is confidential data that is moving through a network via encryption or another security measure.
    • Data at Rest: This is data that is currently being stored in the cloud or another location.

    Overall, cloud data protection will protect data by backing up and recovering processes and systems and secure data by safeguarding customer and company data from both internal and external threats.

    It also consists of maintaining the privacy of data by developing management and control access for various segments, which helps ensure that only authorized users access sensitive stored data.

    Importance of Cloud Data Protection for Brands

    Over the last decade, more organizations have realized how easy and cost-effective moving and managing infrastructure and assets in the cloud can be. 

    This has only increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Companies are starting to hire more remote workers as opposed to full-time on-site employees. As a result, the need to protect the movement and access of company data across various unknown and unknown networks is crucial.

    Cloud data protection can help companies maintain data visibility, ensure data integrity, maintain compliance, ensure data security, manage data storage, make more informed decisions, and form a disaster recovery plan.

    Plus, cloud data protection will help to lower overhead costs as well as IT costs.

    Best Practices and Policies for Cloud Data Protection

    The best cloud data protection strategy for your brand will begin with some best practices and policies that are tailored to your company.

    1. Take Inventory of Sensitive Data

    Without a full inventory of your assets, it is far more difficult to fully assess potential risks. 

    This can make it even more difficult to properly identify the controls needed to protect sensitive data.

    So, before you can develop the best possible cloud data protection plan, you must first identify the type of sensitive data you need to secure. 

    Therefore, you need to identify the type of data that needs protection and where it is located.

    Apart from being able to build a solid cloud data protection program, you can also improve efficiency and increase accountability of all staff members within the organization. 

    It can further improve decision-making, reporting, and performance optimization processes.

    2. Create Centralized Control

    As with most things, consistency is essential to proper cloud data protection.

    Everything goes through the cloud, so you must create a centralized control system that can identify known users, behavioral changes, and even compliance.

    Centralized control can also help provide insight into hidden risks, which can reduce the chance of your IT or security team from overlooking potential vulnerabilities in the cloud as a result of misconfiguration.

    With proper centralized control, your IT team can quickly identify and respond to misconfigurations, which will help bolster the overall security of your data while reducing the time to remediate problems.

    3. Provide a Stable and Robust User Experience

    With the importance of data protection and security, it is easy to take steps that take you over the top. 

    Unfortunately, this can result in higher internet bandwidth usage and could slow down the performance of applications.

    Security is indeed important, but it should never compromise the usability of the app or website, as this impacts the user experience

    When the user experience is impacted in a negative manner, it can cause a disruption in your brand’s sales and revenue.

    4. Choose a Trusted Provider

    With thousands of different cloud-based data protection platforms at your fingertips, how do you ensure that you choose a provider who is trusted to secure your sensitive data?

    You need a provider who can offer sufficient space to store your data and a high level of uptime.

    Further, some of the main features you want to look for in a cloud data protection platform include:

    • Stringent compliance
    • Rapid scalability
    • Ecosystem compatibility
    • Migration services
    • Easy setup

    Ideally, you should look for a provider that offers end-to-end encryption, as this ensures your local device can only encrypt and decrypt sensitive data in the cloud. 

    This helps to reduce the risk of access or manipulation of the data without permission.

    5. Ensure Compatibility

    A quality data protection platform will be able to support and protect data in the cloud and offline. 

    This makes the platform that much more scalable and flexible.

    It is important that the platform you choose has the ability to address data-related challenges across multiple apps and networks. 

    Because of this, you must ensure that there is compatibility across the board.

    If compatibility is lacking, then there is more likely to be security gaps within the integration. 

    Further, if there are any security and protection measures that the vendor does not provide, it is the brand’s responsibility to bridge that gap.

    6. Automate When Possible

    Automation can serve as a key element of your entire data protection plan. 

    Most cloud data protection vendors are offering built-in algorithms that work to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities. Artificial Intelligence helps in this process.

    When logs and reports are generated automatically, it frees up time on your end while also giving your team a better chance at detecting suspicious behavior.

    Further, it can help with compliance-related audits.

    Don’t forget to ensure that your security updates are configurable and automated as well.

    7. Pair Encryption with Authentication

    Authentication can go a long way in protecting data and other cloud-based assets. 

    However, there is always the risk of hackers impersonating authorized users in order to gain access to sensitive data.

    For this reason, encryption is also needed. Encryption works by scrambling the data with encryption keys (randomly generated passwords) for an added layer of security.

    Further, you should consider encrypting at the file level. 

    This can serve as the foundation of your cloud security and protection by adding an additional layer of protection to data before it is ever uploaded to the cloud.

    Data can also be “sharded” into fragments that can then be stored in multiple locations. 

    This process minimizes the threat of the entire file being assembled in the event that someone is able to breach the system.

    8. Back Up Data Regularly

    One of the key components of any data protection plan — in or out of the cloud — is regular data backups.

    By backing up data consistently, you are protecting your brand from critical losses of data, especially during a lockdown, data wipeout, or malware breach.

    It is recommended that data is replicated and stored in a separate location from the main network. 

    Replicated data will allow you to work offline when necessary, such as when you cannot access your cloud assets. And being able to access your data whenever you need it is crucial to the overall success of your business.

    For a more comprehensive look at cloud security, check out this video series by Google:

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    Wrap Up

    With more and more businesses moving their data to the cloud, it is time to take cloud data protection more seriously. It must be a priority.

    Just keep in mind that any effective cloud data protection plan is customized to your brand with scalability in mind. The benefits of such a strategy simply can’t be ignored.

    Although protecting your data and assets in the cloud is important, your overall digital marketing strategy should also consist of website security. 

    Your website is just as vulnerable to hack attacks as cloud-based data. 

    So, take the time to check out how to maintain the security of your website.

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