Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit us all individually and on corporate levels when the world economy was thriving. Among other significant measures that were taken to maintain the likelihood of businesses and their operations to continue, the demand for cloud-based remote access tools arose significantly. But no matter what size of the company was in question, business owners found themselves excessively worrying about the challenges associated with IT, cyber-security, and cloud database management.
For instance, Microsoft pointed out that in Italy, a whopping 775% increase in cloud-based servers and services was used by a business. These excessive numbers have led to people considering it as a growing opportunity both negatively and positively. As IT teams continue to face increasing pressure to navigate business as per the situation, it has become challenging to do it with optimum security measures.
10 Security Measures For Enhanced Data Security
Therefore, here we have listed ten primary security measures that can be taken to provide sub-par data security during these challenging times of COVID.
1. Reflecting Upon The Situation Beyond Usual Norms
One thing we all will agree on is that in the times that we are currently in are times that nobody accounted for. The situation has presented itself for the first time ever since World War II and probably the last time till we find a vaccine. Until then, these are tough times all of us have to reflect upon beyond the usual norms that we are used to working with. The situation put most of the business off to a slow start as most of the data and operations had to be transferred to the cloud. Thus, it became exceedingly important that the appropriate security measures were in place to make such a big business move.
2. Preparing To Transform Security
Before these tough times, the majority of businesses were still in the experimental phase of operating through the cloud and keeping security intact. However, the post-COVID situation tells a different story as most of the businesses were forced to transfer their functions to the cloud, remotely working, and transforming security. If your security bases were through legacy tools like firewalls and IP-based vulnerability scanners, now is the right time to invest in efficient cloud security. Sending off all your employees to work from home and yet providing them with a secure connection to the servers is an increased demand for today.
3. Not The Time For Risks And Experiments
Contrary to the point we discussed above, this is not the time for risks or experiments. Going for known and tested cloud security is the right investment at this point. Going for something relatively new, not known, or openly tested can be kept for some time later. As we are already in a time of crisis where businesses are suffering due to one reason or the other, and there is no capacity to risk losing one’s data because of a new cloud security technology. As businesses tend to look for better opportunities to work out operations without compromising on business functionality, it is better to resort to known ways.
4. Trusting Your Cloud Provider
One of the necessary security measures that you need to take, whether during the pandemic or not, is to make sure you have a trustworthy cloud provider. Most businesses invest in third-party cloud service providers and don’t negotiate with how they access their data. What readily needs to be done if you are already in contract with a third-party cloud service provider is to go through your terms and conditions and the contracts that bind you in the business relationship. Find any loopholes and ask questions to understand better, especially if you are a small business.
5. Keeping A Check On Sensitive Data
Many businesses don’t realize what type of data is better off-cloud than on the cloud server. Confidential data on cloud servers is risky during these times, especially when operations are slow, and people are not efficiently equipped to catch any fraudulent activity going on. Even though you are operating under emergency circumstances, you are still answerable for what happens to essential data and systems. Your customers and employees might be willing to work through as the business owner; it is your responsibility not to lose any data. Make sure to explain to your employees how and when to access sensitive data and not log in through open servers.
6. Security Against Phishing And Malware
As per Google, the system blocks more than 100 million phishing emails daily. The spam, phishing, and malware attacks that we see are harmful initiatives taken to counter weak organizations or individuals. For instance, people are getting genuine emails from essay writing services and then ad spam from other websites that look identical. These emails where senders are impersonating WHO and other authoritative organizations to gain access to your vulnerable data. They are not sticking to single but multiple attempts to undertake whatever weak system they can crack.
7. Work Against Spam Emails
Emails become a significant source of spam, malware, and virus entering into your computer stream. It is essential to take steps to avoid and report such emails entirely. Not only businesses but even individuals should keep track of how consistent such emails are. Working remotely and through cloud software, your data should not be exposed to spam so openly.
8. Google’s Advanced Protection Program (APP)
One of the more advanced security measures that organizations can take before going cloud-based is to enroll in Google’s Advanced Protection Program which is APP. The program works best to ensure the business is not a repeated or consistent target for malware or phishing data attacks. Google Cloud has launched this for public forums in the hope that, especially during these times when the risk of data leakage is at an all-time high, they can catch activities mandated to cause trouble.
9. Proactive Monitoring
Proactive monitoring has been in place for COVID-19-related malware and phishing across major Google platforms, systems, and workflows. In many cases, these spam threats are not relatively new by design but instead already existing malware campaigns updated to be sent multiple times to cause heightened exploitation during such times as the pandemic. Such proactive measures are not only great for the cloud but for browsing and Gmail, too, as companies seek to provide safe browsing access to their remote employees.
10. Thinking About Future Advancements
Lastly, make sure to know how your third-party cloud provider is planning future updates and improvements. One of the advantages of having a trustworthy cloud provider such as Microsoft or Google is that they are continuously updating their systems as per the increasing needs of businesses and enterprises. We are still unsure as to how long this situation will last. Therefore, it is apt that we are well-equipped to work efficiently from even the comfort of our homes.
All in all, no matter what is the size of your business, if you are a small or medium enterprise or a full-established running business, COVID doesn’t discriminate. It has affected all kinds of companies in every which way none of us were prepared to face. Therefore, it is only best in our favor if we take the right security to ensure and continue to work safely from our homes.
Author Bio: Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as a Digital Evangelist & Research Analyst. She has taken an active initiative to provide proper guidelines for cloud-based businesses to stay secure in these tough times. She shares experiences on her blog.