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7 Best Practices for Keeping Your Business Files Safe in the Cloud

It’s 2018. Virtually every business, from sole proprietorships to Fortune 100 giants, utilizes cloud storage.

With the amazing convenience of remote digital storage comes immense risk, however. Here’s what you need to do to keep your business files safe in the cloud.

1. Keep Your Anti-Malware Suite Up to Date

Selecting the best anti-malware suite is a daunting prospect. First things first: review a comprehensive buying guide for an unvarnished view of the threat protection landscape.

Once you’ve chosen an anti-malware program, it’s on you to keep it up to date. Download patches as soon as they become available. Jump on program updates at the first alert. If your suite has multiple protection layers, run all at once. And conduct manual system scans between automatic surveys, which may not occur frequently enough to catch breaking threats.

2. Backup Your Files Regularly

Set and stick to a file backup schedule. Ideally, you’ll want to have a local backup on every connected device’s hard drive, plus an organized stash of external storage media kept in a secure, separate location. Research backup providers and select a partner with industry-leading safety protocols and proven ability to scale with your business.

3. Get to Know the Threat Landscape

The cyber-threat landscape is always changing. Devote a manageable share of your valued time to researching threats at a high level. Join an industry-specific threat intelligence consortium. And pay it forward by sharing news of attempted (or successful) breaches with peer and competitor businesses. When the time comes, they’ll repay the favor.

4. Practice Impeccable Password Hygiene

Passwords present serious, persistent vulnerabilities. Make impeccable password hygiene a top priority by requiring team members to use unique passwords for cloud storage accounts and periodically switching up their credentials. If passwords aren’t cutting it, consider switching to tokens. Always use two-factor authentication.

5. Encrypt Sensitive Files

Don’t store mission-critical files in the cloud without proper encryption. Read up on the basics of pre-backup encryption, then select a tool that requires little or no technical knowledge. Once encrypted, your files are far less likely to be useful to malicious actors, even if your cloud storage service is breached.

6. Use Additional Layers of Encryption

File encryption goes a long way, but it’s not the end of the road for your security posture. Consider implementing additional layers of encryption — for instance, using an encrypted cloud backup suite and running a virtual private network at all times. The less usable you make your business files, the less attractive they’ll be when the inevitable security incident hits.

7. Know Your Rights

Last, but certainly not least, read your entire cloud storage user agreement. Yes, it’s a slog, but it’ll pay off mightily in the unfortunate event that your cloud storage service suffers a systemwide breach. If you’re not sure what to make of your user agreement provisions, escalate appropriate questions up your storage provider’s ladder until you get the answers you’re looking for. If you have the resources, it’s not a bad idea to get an IP lawyer to look over the agreement on your end.

Strengthen Your Security Posture Without Breaking the Bank

These seven tactics will strengthen your company’s data security posture without breaking the bank or leaving your team vulnerable to threats large and small. Here’s to successful implementation — and safe passage through cyberspace.