Cloud data protection—how to secure sensitive information and avoid privacy risks

Cloud data protection is essential for preventing breaches and keeping your files safe. Discover its key practices and learn how to implement them.
With the continuing rise of remote work, the need for secure cloud storage is rapidly growing. Data security is the main challenge of businesses using cloud solutions, and for a good reason—you’re entrusting a third party with a plethora of sensitive information.As the name implies, cloud data protection is a set of principles you must follow to keep your information and files safe from unauthorized access or misuse. It has evolved into a comprehensive practice every business owner should be familiar with.To help you, this guide will explain:
  • Reason cloud-based data protection is such a vital concept
  • Main challenges you should know about
  • Best ways to keep your data safe in the cloud environment
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Why every business should care about data protection in the cloud

Cloud data protection aims to secure:
  1. Data in use—Sensitive data actively used by software to perform various actions
  2. Data in transit—Any data moving through the network between endpoints
  3. Data at rest—All files and information stored on the cloud
Each data type is exposed to specific risks you must mitigate. Cyberattacks are by far the biggest threat, but internal hazards can be equally dangerous. Robust cloud protection is necessary for several reasons, including:
  • Compliance with data regulations
  • Prevention of misunderstandings related to security responsibilities
  • Security consistency across multiple cloud solutions
  • Minimization of the potential attack surface
With the right policies in place, you can future-proof your business against numerous threats and prevent significant losses caused by data breaches.

Data security in the cloud—the common challenges businesses face

Securing cloud data is a major endeavor that requires you to make numerous considerations. The following table breaks down the main data challenges you might encounter:
Challenge Explanation
LocalityData regulations aren’t only tied to the server location. You must also consider where the data is collected and used to ensure compliance with all the necessary directives
PermissionsEnsuring data confidentiality and integrity is crucial to preventing leaks, so permissions must be set according to clearance levels
SecuritySecurity responsibilities are shared between the cloud provider and the customer. The vendor must ensure proper infrastructure alongside online and physical server security, while cloud configurations and specific settings are the customer’s responsibility
Checking all of the above boxes might take time and effort, but it builds a solid foundation for comprehensive security and privacy. You should implement the necessary policies from the moment you migrate your data to the cloud to avoid costly errors and vulnerabilities.

Best practices for ensuring data protection in cloud environments

While the exact roadmap for securing your cloud data depends on your business’ specifics, there are four universal aspects you must cover:
  1. Data inventory
  2. Vendor evaluation
  3. Employee education and device security
  4. End-to-end encryption

Keep track of your data

A 2022 survey showed that only over one half (56%) of business owners know where their data is stored. This is the result of improper data inventory, which can be a dangerous mistake.To implement the right security measures, you must know which sensitive data you’re trying to protect. Not all data has the same treatment, so it’s crucial to know what you can store on the cloud. For instance, if you’re in the medical field, your cloud provider must be HIPAA-compliant to ensure you can store patient information without breaking any privacy regulations.Understanding your data helps you define the necessary security measures and policies, after which you can start looking for the right cloud service.

Evaluate the provider’s security measures and practices

Besides ample storage and outstanding uptime, your cloud provider must offer robust security to keep your data safe. Built-in security measures can make or break the privacy and confidentiality of stored data regardless of your internal practices.Make sure your vendor is compliant with all the necessary regulations and has the right infrastructure in place. Ask about their server location and physical security to get a better idea of how they’ll safeguard your sensitive files.As for online safety, some of the main security layers the vendor should have include:
  • Internal and perimeter firewalls
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Zero-trust protocols
  • Continuous cloud monitoring
Choose your provider carefully, as migrating to another solution in case of any issues can be time-consuming. Do proper due diligence before committing to a service, and then focus on the internal security measures.
Choose a provider that checks all the boxesFully E2E encrypted and anonymous, Skiff Drive leaves no weak spots in your protection
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Educate your team on data protection and implement endpoint security

Remote work has many benefits, but it’s a serious liability when it comes to data protection. This is especially true if your business has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Endpoints are among the weakest points of your system, so you must secure them properly.Enforce strict data security rules and make sure your team follows the necessary practices, including:
  • Staying away from public Wi-Fi when accessing the cloud with a smartphone or laptop
  • Keeping their personal and business accounts separate
  • Logging out of business accounts after work is complete
  • Being on the lookout for phishing or similar social engineering attacks
Besides education, you should set up comprehensive endpoint protection. From firewalls to malware protection, there are numerous security layers you should have in place to prevent data breaches.Human error is possible despite your best efforts to keep data safe, so don’t forget to create regular backups. They’re necessary for every disaster recovery strategy, so keep copies of all sensitive data stored and limit access to the backups.

Safeguard your data with end-to-end encryption

Encryption is a vital component of cloud data protection. It’s a way of securing data by scrambling it into unreadable characters so that unauthorized parties can’t see their contents.Every major cloud platform offers some level of encryption. Data at rest is typically protected by AES-256 encryption, while data in transit is secured by SSL or TLS protocols. While these encryption standards provide decent protection, they’re not enough to give users peace of mind.The main reason for this is that encryption happens on the provider’s server. This means that they create and store the encryption key, which gives them full access to your files. While such providers can protect you from malicious parties, they don’t offer the level of privacy most businesses need.To secure your data while retaining full ownership of it, you need a solution with end-to-end encryption (E2EE). It’s the gold standard for data security because it enables client-side file ciphering. All data is encrypted on the user’s device before reaching the cloud server, which makes it invisible to everyone, including the provider.Most Big Tech cloud providers don’t offer this level of security, as they rely heavily on user data to improve their service and often target clients with ads. Luckily, there are several privacy-first solutions you can choose from. If you want complete confidentiality and control of your data, sign up for Skiff Drive.

Skiff Drive—a secure space for all your confidential data

Skiff Drive uses advanced end-to-end cryptography to prevent unauthorized access and protect your data from online threats. The user creates and stores the decryption key, so nobody—including Skiff—can see your files and their contents.Using the Secure Remote Password algorithm, Skiff Drive enables zero-knowledge authentication. The platform doesn’t store login credentials and uses cutting-edge protocols for password recovery that don’t require any private information.As an open-source platform, Skiff Drive is fully transparent about the codebase. Anyone can review the cryptography library, which is available on Skiff’s GitHub. You can also read the whitepaper to learn more about the platform’s security measures and their effectiveness.For additional protection, Skiff supports two-factor authentication. You can use the Authenticator app to set it up and ensure your storage isn’t accessible even if someone gets ahold of your login credentials.A growing number of businesses is leveraging decentralization, and Skiff Drive can help you get the most out of it. The platform offers optional InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) integration, letting users secure their files in the largest peer-to-peer storage solution.You can also log into Skiff with major crypto wallets for anonymous online communication and transactions:

Supercharge your workflow with Skiff’s additional E2EE platforms

When you sign up for Skiff Drive, you’ll get access to three additional end-to-end encrypted solutions:
  1. Skiff Mail
  2. Skiff Pages
  3. Skiff Calendar
Each platform offers various benefits to your operations, as explained in this breakdown:
Skiff MailSend private emails and shield your online correspondence with strong end-to-end encryption. Your emails can’t be accessed by anyone besides the recipient with the decryption key, ensuring maximum confidentiality
Skiff PagesCollaborate on projects using Skiff Pages’ rich text editor and share files without security concerns. You can control who has access to each doc, so information is shared on a need-to-know basis
Skiff CalendarKeep track of all activities and schedule meetings and video conferences in a secure environment. You can modify the features of Skiff Calendar to adapt the tool to your workflow and maximize your productivity
Skiff is available on browsers and macOS, iOS, and Android devices. Wherever your team is, you can rest assured your files and correspondence stay end-to-end encrypted.

Sign up for Skiff Drive and enjoy robust security

You can get started with Skiff without leaving any personal information—it only takes three steps:
  1. Go to the signup page
  2. Choose your account name and password
  3. Upload your files to Skiff Drive
The rich free plan lets you explore Skiff’s many features and gives you 10 GB of E2EE storage. If you want to upgrade, you can choose between three paid plans:
  1. Essential—From $3 per month
  2. Pro—From $8 per month
  3. Business—From $12 per month
The Business plan lets you discover Skiff’s full potential and offers plenty of useful features, most notably:
  • 1 TB of storage
  • Unlimited Pages collaborators
  • Unlimited file versioning
  • 15 aliases and 5 custom domains
If you’re coming from another storage solution like Dropbox or Google Drive, you can use Skiff’s one-click migration to secure your files instantly. The platform won’t store unencrypted copies, so you can enjoy complete privacy from the moment you transition.

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