Encryption is one of the most important parts of a company’s cybersecurity approach. Encrypting data in the cloud not only prevents unauthorized use of the data but also mitigates other serious security risks, including:
- Adherence to applicable laws and policies concerning the privacy and security of personal information.
- Increased security to prevent data theft or misuse by other public cloud users.
- Release from the obligation to report security incidents to authorities in certain circumstances.
The article defines what cloud encryption is and highlights its significance.
What is Cloud Encryption?
Simply put, cloud encryption is the practice of encrypting and altering data before uploading it. This procedure uses mathematical techniques to transform plaintext data into ciphertext, making it unreadable and safe from unauthorized access.
Common uses of cloud encryption range from end-to-end encryption of all data sent to the cloud to encrypted connections and limited encryption of sensitive materials. Cloud storage providers often encrypt client data upon reception and provide customers with encryption keys for secure data retrieval.
Importance of Cloud Encryption
- Properly implemented cloud encryption can provide numerous benefits. It helps businesses protect sensitive information, increase remote access capabilities, and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
- Encrypted data is useless to unauthorized individuals unless they possess the decryption keys. This is particularly valuable when storing data in the cloud as it safeguards the information even in the event of a breach of the cloud service provider, user account, or computer system.
- Cloud encryption is especially crucial for businesses that must adhere to strict regulations such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX. Compliance with these requirements would be challenging without encryption and other security measures.
- The use of cloud storage and services introduces unique security concerns, and companies operating in these sectors must be prepared to address them. Cloud encryption is essential in today’s data-driven world as it allows businesses to take proactive measures against data breaches and cyberattacks.
- Cloud databases, which store vast amounts of information like employee, customer, sales, and financial records, are interconnected through wired and wireless technology. With the rise of remote work, hackers have increased opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities in cloud services.
- Information stored in the cloud without encryption is vulnerable to intrusion by hackers who can disguise malicious packets as local traffic and inject them into business’ cloud databases covertly. Encryption makes theft or tampering with data extremely difficult.
Challenges with Cloud Encryption
Despite its efficiency in enhancing data security, encryption is not widely adopted, which is one of the main challenges with the technology. Many businesses, both large and small, are turning to the cloud to improve efficiency and comply with regulatory standards.
The additional bandwidth required to encrypt data before sending it to the cloud increases costs for both cloud storage providers and users. Consequently, some providers have limited their encryption offerings, while some users encrypt their data locally before uploading it.
Best practices for Cloud Encryption
- Before signing up with a cloud storage provider, ensure that your cloud deployment and the data you plan to store meet your security requirements.
- Identify which data needs to be secured and choose a cloud service that provides adequate encryption. For example, encryption may be unnecessary for uploaded images and videos for a marketing team, but it may be necessary for account credentials.
- If possible, encrypt sensitive data locally before sending it to the cloud. This ensures that your data remains secure in the cloud even if your account or the cloud storage provider is compromised.
- Critical data, such as employee details, vendor information, and customer data, should always be backed up locally on a secure server, even if cloud encryption providers offer rapid backups and redundancy as part of their plans.
- Maintain local backups to safeguard against data corruption, loss, or restrictions on access imposed by the cloud service provider. Consider copying data to an encrypted cloud hosted by a different company as an additional precaution.
- Educate employees about secure computing practices, such as not using unprotected public computers or relying on unsecured connections. Configure computers to prevent the caching of passwords and logins, instruct staff to log out of all sites and accounts after use, and advise against using unsecured Wi-Fi networks whenever possible.
Data security legislation and concerns have made cloud encryption a necessity for businesses. Privacy and data security experts believe that encryption is a crucial tool for ensuring information security, and cloud service providers offer a range of encryption applications to meet the needs and budgets of their customers. By understanding your cloud data security needs and implementing proper cloud encryption practices, your company can benefit from the advantages of cloud computing while keeping your data safe