Recent reports indicate that cloud migration is on the rise as more and more organizations shift to working remotely. Cloud computing refers to storing and accessing digital data and programs on servers on the internet instead of on a computer. These servers are hosted and maintained by third-party cloud providers who are responsible for the data stored off-site. Authorized parties can access the data stored on the cloud whenever they need it. Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox are popular cloud storage options. Many digital transcription agencies prefer Dropbox for file submission and transfer as it is easy to use, secure, and efficient.
While cloud services have grown at a fast pace in recent years, they have reached a new high since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a study titled “Cloud Computing – Thematic Research,” published recently Global Data, a London-based analytics company, the platform has enabled the use of shared IT infrastructure and services to create a flexible, scalable, and on-demand internet technology (IT) environment (wwwpymnts.com). Forester Research had reported that the value of the public cloud market was expected to reach at least $191 billion by 2020. However, while service providers secure their infrastructure with up-to-date technologies and practices, several factors like system failures, breaches, natural disasters, and dissolution of the business could compromise the safety of documents in the cloud. As cloud computing adoption continues to see an upward trend, experts are advising businesses to think about how to keep their data safe. The following tips, which include recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), can help address security concerns for users of cloud storage:
- Avoid storing sensitive information on the online server: Companies are responsible for any personal information stored in the cloud. Many companies have realized that it’s best to avoid storing personal data in cloud storage servers. Take stock of the data you have stored in the cloud and retain only what’s essential. If you don’t need to store the information, the FTC advises disposing of it securely.
- Utilize the security features provided by your cloud service provider: Businesses need to understand and utilize the security controls that their cloud service company offers. Settings should be configured in a way best suited to the business. Set strong passwords and implement multi-factor authorization to protect sensitive files and ensure that the information is accessed only by employees who have a legitimate business reason to do so. The FTC advises against hard code passwords in cloud-based apps, as this can actually attract hackers!
- Back up your files: Backing up your business-critical files and folders stored in the cloud can protect your data. Losing data files due to a ransomware attack, virus infection, accidental or malicious deletion could lead to significant financial losses as well as have legal implications. Backing up your data stored in the cloud can safeguard against these threats. Choose a backup software that best meets your requirements and ensure that it has the necessary data security features and capabilities.
- Evaluate your inventory regularly: Understand what you have in your online repository and where it is stored. Robust, up-to-date inventories are essential for efficient data management. Top cloud systems provide real-time visibility into inventory, along with anywhere, anytime access to critical information. Reassess the security configurations and access rights to sensitive information and have a clear idea about what information is available and where it is kept.
- Utilize encryption: Any documents uploaded to the cloud that contain sensitive information should be encrypted. This will ensure that the data will stay secure even if your account or cloud storage provider is compromised. For instance, encryption along with other security measures enable healthcare organizations and their business associates such as transcription companies to meet the stringent HIPAA compliance requirements.
- Take heed of credible warnings: Warnings about data exposure online may come in the form of automated reminders from the cloud provider or internet security researchers. The FTC strongly recommends paying attention to warnings you may receive about cloud repositories that are open to the internet.
It is incumbent upon all organizations to safeguard their clients’ data. They should use due diligence when choosing a cloud service vendor, carefully evaluate the vendor’s own security measures, and suggest drawing up agreements that set expectations of what is expected from both a service and security point of view.
As a company providing business transcription services that uses browser-based Dropbox for secure file transfer, we are well aware of the importance of the sensitive information we handle. Our online transcription company has various measures in place to ensure client data is handled with the confidentiality it deserves.