Big and small enterprises collect vast volumes of critical data and store it in hybrid, public, and private cloud environments. According to Gartner, end-user spending on public cloud services will grow up to $591.8 billion in 2023. As the trend continues to grow, there are more and more complexities around protecting and securing this data.
One of the major challenges is protection from theft and data leaks. However, with better data collection, storage practices, and increased user permission control, it’s possible to curtail data loss exposure before it leads to serious problems.
Cloud computing is generally more secure than on-premise solutions, as cloud vendors provide sturdy security systems that run 24/7. However, in the event of data loss, a huge part of the responsibility remains with the user.
Luckily, these four practices have been proven effective against common causes of data loss.
1) Adopt a cloud data protection model
A cloud protection model involves giving all your data security procedures and solutions a strategic direction. They are used to build a comprehensive framework for data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
In addition to being all-encompassing, a reliable protection model must also provide a centralized control hub and a unified approach to safety, security, and privacy for all users.
Such a model would help you standardize three critical parts of data cloud security:
- Access control – Defining role-based permissions and managing access for different categories of data helps mitigate the risk of unauthorized and unlawful access.
- Encryption – Encrypting data before you move it to the cloud, combined with data sharding (storing fragments of data on multiple location points), is the best anti-theft solution.
- Data hygiene – Keeping your data up-to-date and getting rid of inaccurate or irrelevant data, like defunct email addresses, helps you avoid getting blacklisted as a spammer.
2) Use a data analytics platform
Besides theft and malware, human error poses another major problem to organizations. Researchers from Stanford University have determined that a whopping 85% of data breaches are caused by human error.
Luckily, there are a couple of ways to try and prevent accidental data loss:
- Implement continual employee training with a special focus on data security;
- Employ a user-friendly data management tool to help staff handle data;
- Democratize data so that non-technical employees can understand it better.
Effective employee training is paramount for data safety, but organizations must first employ a neat data management software system to help staff handle data in a user-friendly environment with a smaller margin for error.
Data democratization is a huge part of this, helping bridge the gap between complex data management tools and non-technical employees. A good practice is to use data democratization in combination with access control. That way, every employee would be able to interpret all data but access only some.
3) Create a disaster recovery strategy
In the corporate environment, every premeditated attack is a potential catastrophe – according to Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, cyber attacks throw at least 20% of businesses into bankruptcy.
A reliable disaster recovery plan allows you to implement backup measures immediately after you suffer major data loss. The goal is to provide vital support for your organization to restore, recover, and resume essential daily operations quickly.
To create a disaster recovery plan, an organization must:
- Predict possible data loss scenarios;
- Assess risks and identify weak points;
- Define critical operations and requirements;
- Set up a recovery procedure for lost data.
Aside from backup and replication, most organizations need an alternate location prepared in case of physical disruption, as well as an established protocol and communication tools.
4) Work on data compliance
On the legal side of things, you need data compliance to avoid license revocations and major financial losses. However, compliance is also a matter of integrity and trust, as customers rarely stay with non-compliant companies.
Apart from governance and policy, you’ll have to define and address at least five more areas of data compliance:
- Access permission and control;
- Asset ownership and management;
- Continuity of critical operations;
- Incident response and recovery;
- Development and maintenance.
You must discuss all regulations that fall under data compliance with a cloud provider and define them under a shared responsibility model. However, even when cloud vendors take legal responsibility and pay for the lion’s share of fines, organizations still suffer losses, including losing customers.
You can help prevent that by setting role-based permission controls, defining asset ownership with clarity, and having a reliable disaster recovery plan.
The Cloud is here to stay, and if you want your business to maximize its potential and use it efficiently for data management, you will have to take data protection seriously. Focus on these issues mentioned but keep scalability and your organization’s structure in mind.
It might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually a survival tactic.
Building an unshakable data protection framework will give you reputational, operational, and fiscal benefits, but that’s only an upshot. More importantly, it will provide a backbone and allow you to focus on growth, knowing that your biggest asset is out of harm’s way.
Ben Herzberg is Satori’s Chief Scientist and VP of Marketing.