Maximizing Cloud Storage Security: 4 Features To Look For In A Provider

Many businesses are moving their data to cloud storage since having files stored in the cloud makes it easier for employees to work remotely. In addition, it's often less expensive than hosting data on servers located on the premises of your business. However, some businesses are wary of moving to the cloud because of potential security concerns, and this is valid — if your employees can access your business data remotely, then it opens up the possibility that an attacker can access it as well.

You can reduce the risk of unauthorized access by selecting a cloud storage provider with a commitment to client security. Setting up your storage with security in mind ensures that only your employees (and other businesses that you share your data with) will have the ability to access it. To help you find the right cloud storage provider for you, read on to learn about four features you should look for in a secure cloud storage provider.

1. End-to-End Encryption

Almost all cloud storage providers support at-rest encryption, which means that your data is encrypted while it's in the cloud. If attackers gain access to the cloud servers themselves, they won't be able to read your data.

However, not all providers support end-to-end encryption, and it's an important security feature to look for. With end-to-end encryption, your data is transmitted to your employees in an encrypted state, and your employees also upload encrypted data to the cloud servers. Without end-to-end encryption, decrypted data is sent both ways.

Sending unencrypted data over a network connection presents a problem when one of your employees is accessing your cloud storage from an untrusted wireless internet connection. Some attackers set up unencrypted wireless hot spots and attempt to trick people into connecting to them, which allows them to read all of the data that's sent over the network.

If you select a provider that supports end-to-end encryption, this attack vector is no longer feasible — the data that's sent from the cloud has already been encrypted, and it's only decrypted once it's on your employee's device. Even if they intercept the encrypted data while it's in transit, they won't be able to make use of it.

2. Device-Based Access

When you're looking for a secure cloud storage provider, you should select one that allows you to limit access to certain devices. For example, you can set up your cloud storage so that only employees' work phones and laptops are allowed to access the files on the server.

This is a conveniency trade-off since employees won't be able to use their personal laptops or smartphones to access your company's cloud storage. However, it prevents attackers from gaining unauthorized access to your servers without having one of your company's work phones or laptops, which makes your files considerably more secure.

3. Geo-Fencing

Another important security feature is geo-fencing, which allows you to limit access based on geographical region. If none of your employees travel internationally, and you're not sharing your data with international businesses, then there's no reason for international networks to access your cloud storage. With geo-fencing, you can prevent users from outside of the country from even attempting to access your company's files.

4. Two-Factor Authentication

A final layer that's necessary for a fully secure cloud storage solution is two-factor authentication. An employee can log in to the server with their username and password, and then the server will request an additional form of identification that only the employee would have.

Potential forms of identification include responding to an email that has been sent to their work email account or responding to a text that's sent to their work phone. This helps to ensure that only your employees are able to access your cloud storage. 

Protecting your business' data is important, which means that you need to select a cloud storage provider who has a strong focus on security. After all, you're partly trusting them to keep your important information safe. Even if you don't plan on using all of the security features listed above, any potential provider should support them — it's a sign that they're committed to protecting their clients' data.