How to Maintain Cloud Storage Security Standards

Picking the right cloud storage provider can offer its own level of protection, but it's up to you to manage your storage standards. Learn about cloud security benchmarks.

Nearly every modernized business has transitioned away from traditional on-premises storage devices in favor of cloud-based storage systems. While cloud-computing offers several distinct advantages over on-premises alternatives, organizations that use these solutions must implement a storage security strategy.

Selecting the right cloud storage provider can bolster other data security efforts. However, your company is ultimately the one responsible for protecting its storage resources and sensitive data. 

What Are Potential Threats to Cloud Storage?

There are many different threats to the sensitive information stored in your cloud-computing environment. These threats can originate from internal and external sources and include:

  • Security Breaches. Unquestionably this is one of the biggest dangers facing your cloud services. If a hacker gains unauthorized access to your confidential data, they can leverage the information to take advantage of your clients. 
  • Ransomware Threats and Bad Actors. Hackers responsible fordata breaches may sell valuable information to other bad actors. Falling victim to a security breach will cause lasting damage to your brand reputation and cost you tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.
  • Unauthorized Users. If an employee who should not have access to sensitive data does, they may inadvertently delete important files or alter records. 

The damage caused by security threats can create mass confusion, especially if the error goes undiscovered for weeks or months. To guard against this, you should include access control countermeasures in your data protection strategy.

Storage Security Principles to Know

Before exploring ways to facilitate secure data storage, it is important to familiarize yourself with several vital storage security principles such as those outlined below.

Confidentiality

Data confidentiality is a cornerstone of any storage security strategy. Keeping data confidential means limiting who can access it and how it can be transmitted. 

For instance, confidential data should never be transmitted over an insecure network. It should also be off-limits to any staff that does not need to view said information to carry out their core job responsibilities.

By restricting who can view your data and how they can relay it to others, you can reduce the risk of the information falling into the wrong hands.

Integrity

To preserve data integrity, you must limit who can access and alter important business files. If line-level staff can access confidential information at will, your organization has insufficient data integrity. 

Implementing and adhering to data storage security standards will help your organization bolster information integrity and preserve the accuracy of important records.

Availability

What good is all of your data if you cannot readily access it? The answer is that the information is all but useless. Preserving data availability involves guarding against cyberattacks and implementing redundancies that you can fall back on in the event of a natural disaster. 

Your data should always be available to all authorized users and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals. This seeming contradiction sums up the balancing act of deploying a storage security plan.

Compliance and Data Storage Security Standards

There is a broad array of data storage security standards and compliance regulations. Some of these storage security standards are industry-specific, whereas others govern the actions of businesses operating within a particular region or nation. A few of the most notable data storage security standards include the following:

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is one of the most dynamic pieces of data privacy legislation ever created. This regulation governs how businesses collect, store, and use the data of European Union citizens. 

GDPR rules apply to just about any business that interacts with the information of EU citizens, even if the organization is not based in the European Union.

In addition to governing how organizations store data, the GDPR outlines a list of consumer rights. Businesses are required to honor these rights. Failing to do so can cause the business to incur substantial fines that may be as high as 4% of an organization’s annual global revenue.

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act applies exclusively to organizations that handle confidential American health data. While the act’s primary focus is to ensure that patient health information is not unlawfully shared or disseminated, it does include data storage security provisions.

Specifically, the HIPAA Security Rule establishes an auditing standard for institutions that possess, store, use, or share electronic health information. This standard also outlines the requirements that organizations must follow in order to protect the integrity of patient data.

Sarbanes Oxley

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) was created in direct response to several major scandals in the financial sector. Events such as the Enron scandal led investors and other stakeholders to question the legitimacy of financial records.

This act contains a diverse assortment of provisions, several of which address record-keeping and storage security. 

For instance, Section 802 outlines how long companies must store and retain important records. This section also defines what business records must be retained and specifically mentions electronic communications.

In order to ensure compliance with SOX, affected companies must implement strong data integrity protocols. Otherwise, the legitimacy and accuracy of records could be called into question.

PCI-DSS

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) is a comprehensive assortment of standards that were released in 2004. This PCI-DSS was created by several major payment card companies, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.

In order for a business to process debit and credit card transactions, it must comply with PCI-DSS provisions. Businesses must use anti-virus software, encrypt data transmissions, and deploy firewalls in order to demonstrate compliance. 

These are only a few of the many provisions included in the PCI-DSS framework. Organizations that store credit card information, such as eCommerce stores, must take additional steps to achieve PCI-DSS compliance.

Best Practices for Cloud Storage Security

The exact set of data storage security standards that your organization will need to adhere to will vary depending on the industry that you operate within. However, any organization that stores sensitive information should follow several important cloud storage security best practices. These include:

Encryption

Data encryption is a foundational component of storage security. Ideally, data should be encrypted when it is both “in transit” and “at rest.” Data that is in transit is actively being relayed to another location. Conversely, data that is at rest is being stored and is not currently being accessed for any purposes.

Encrypted data is unreadable by anyone who does not possess an encryption key. This key will unshuffle the encrypted information and restore it to its natural state. Not all encryption processes are equal. Some forms, such as the version used by SeagateLyve Cloud, are superior to more rudimentary types of encryption.

Seagate Lyve Cloud services enforce transport layer security protocol 1.2 by incorporating the 256-bit advanced encryption standard (AES). This encryption protocol establishes extremely secure communication between the Lyve Cloud and the client.

Zero-Knowledge Authentication

Zero-knowledge authentication is a unique access control protocol that has gained traction in recent years. When using zero-knowledge authentication, one party will attempt to convince the other that they possess an identifying secret. However, the first part, known as the “prover,” will not actually reveal the secret.

For example, the prover might have an asymmetric or private key. This key will communicate with the public key that is in possession of the verifier. The prover will then be granted access to the information that they are requesting.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is another commonly used access control tool. As the name implies, the identity of users is verified using two different factors.

Let’s say that a user is attempting to log into their financial institution’s website so that they can review account information, and that site uses two-factor authentication. 

The user will first be required to input a username and password. Once that is complete, they will be forwarded a temporary code via either email or text message. They must enter that code within the specified timeframe to gain access to their account.

Two-factor authentication can protect sensitive data in the event a password is compromised. If the user in the above example had their password stolen during a data breach, the hacker could not access their account unless they also had access to the email address or phone number that received the temporary code.

Ransomware Protection

Ransomware is a particularly harmful type of malicious software that can lock an organization out of its vital files. Hackers using ransomware will hijack files or entire data infrastructures and then hold them hostage until the owner pays a ransom.

Modern ransomware protection software is a highly advanced cybersecurity solution that can make a network less vulnerable to attack. This technology proactively analyzes the network to scan for any irregularities. The protection software can also work to contain ransomware if malicious files are discovered during a scan.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster recovery planning will help an organization resume normal operations more efficiently following a successful cyberattack or a natural disaster. This plan should outline how often mission-critical files will be backed up, where they will be stored, and other response information.

While every business leader would like to think that they will never be the victim of a cyberattack, it is important to prepare for every possible scenario. Businesses that do not engage in disaster recovery planning are much more likely to fail entirely if they are the subject of a cyberattack.

Traffic Profiling

Traffic profiling involves monitoring the movement of data across a network. This profiling also tracks what data is being accessed, how frequently it is being viewed, and who is opening these files. Traffic profiling allows businesses to establish a normal data movement baseline so that they can more effectively detect any abnormalities.

Regular, Detailed Monitoring and Reporting

While implementing the latest cybersecurity software will go a long way in bolstering storage security, regular monitoring and reporting are equally essential to the success of your efforts. That is why you need a dedicated cloud services provider like Seagate.

Seagate Lyve Cloud can be paired with DRaaS to optimize existing security standards. Additionally, Lyve Cloud complies with international security laws and uses encryption to ensure all stored data is secure. In addition, our team provides comprehensive reporting and monitoring services to optimize the security of your cloud computing environment. To learn more, contact a Seagate Lyve Cloud expert today.