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4 Best Practices For Securing Sensitive Data In The Cloud



Just like any other technology, cloud computing has its challenges. There are cloud security threats to worry about. Common cloud security threats include misconfiguration, data breaches, and denial of service attacks.

Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of businesses that rely on cloud computing and cloud storage. According to research about 61% of businesses shifted their workload to the cloud in 2020. Given the conditions during the time, it was a necessary move.

However, the trend has continued, and up to 48% of businesses store their most important data in the cloud. This is one of the many emerging trends in cloud storage. The supply chain problems in the world have also made it harder to build on-site data centers. This has forced companies to depend on enterprise cloud computing.

Reports show that 80% of companies have experienced a cloud security incident in the last year. That is an alarming number, and it shows how dire strong cloud security is for a company. You need to put some effort towards upholding the security of cloud storage. 

One way you can do this is by employing cloud security platforms which is aimed at protecting data and workloads across both private and public clouds. With the right cloud security tool, you can rely on your cloud security posture management to cater to your cloud-based resources. This involves assessing the security configuration and status of cloud services. This way you can identify potential security vulnerabilities and threats and address them.

These measures will improve your cloud security, but that is not enough. There is more you can do to improve your cloud security. Cloud security borrows heavily from cybersecurity strategies and processes. Therefore, let us look at some practices you can use to secure your data.

  • Manage User Access

Human error presents one of the biggest and most common sources of data breaches. The biggest concerns include weak passwords, social engineering, and accidental data loss. Your employees can easily lose their accounts, leaving your cloud storage compromised.

If you do not have access controls in place, the amount of damage the attacker has is limitless. Therefore you need to set up an access control mechanism for your cloud environment. What this does is limit the number of privileges a user has. Least privilege access is one of the best principles you can implement. This ensures that users only have permission to access data they need to fulfill their duties.

This will limit the amount of data an attacker can access if they hijack an employee’s account. In case a user needs access to some data, there are measures you can take, including:

  • One-time access privileges
  • Granting privileges on request
  • Limited period of access

Limiting user privileges can protect sensitive data from your employees and potential threats.

  •  Encryption

Data encryption is one of the standard cybersecurity practices in the industry. It involves converting data into an unreadable form, so it is unreadable without a decryption key. There are several factors to consider with encryption when securing your data.

You can opt for server-side encryption, whereby data encryption is done on the cloud service provider’s servers. Therefore, only the cloud service provider has access to the encryption keys. This type of approach is common, especially with enterprise cloud services. However, you run the risk of a data breach if your cloud service provider is compromised.

You can also go for client-side encryption where the data encryption is done on the user’s device. This is before it is transmitted to the cloud so that only the user has access to the encryption keys. If you use this approach you have to implement a proper decryption key management system.

This will help you avoid losing sensitive data because of losing your decryption key.

  • Secure Your Cloud Access

Cloud service providers set up mechanisms to secure users’ cloud infrastructure. On the other hand, your organization handles managing the user accounts and granting access privileges. Therefore, both parties play a role in ensuring that sensitive data is secure.

One of the best ways to secure your cloud is by implementing a password policy for your employees. You should give them a guideline on creating strong passwords and enforcing password rotation. This will reduce your vulnerability to cloud security risks.

You can also enforce two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA enforces security by verifying user identity using a one-time code or password. The code is sent to the user’s mobile device, and they have to key it in to access the system.

  • Implementing an Incident Response plan

Despite your best efforts to secure sensitive data, you may still fall victim to an unrealized vulnerability. However, all is not lost, your response to an attack may limit the damage an attacker can cause. If you have a quick reaction, you can neutralize the threat before they do much.

Therefore, you need an incident response plan to act on any threats to your cloud storage. An Incident Response Plan (IRP) documents the process for quickly and effectively responding to a security incident. It has strict rules and procedures that cater to different scenarios.

A good IRP covers the identification, containment, analysis, and neutralization of threats. It should also give the procedure for reporting the incident and reviewing to make improvements. You should also set up AI to automatically detect suspicious activity in an account, and send out notifications to authorities.

Also, you can implement mechanisms to block users in case of suspicious behavior in their accounts.


Cloud computing has become an integral part of businesses today. Storing your data in the cloud has several benefits, however, there are cloud security risks to consider. Most cloud security issues result from misconfiguration, distributed denial of service attacks, and human factors. 

The security risks are too many to ignore, therefore, you should employ some control measures. Also, incorporate some of the best practices available to secure sensitive data. These practices include data encryption, implementing response plans, and managing user access.