Cloud storage is a model of data storage in which the digital data is stored in logical pools, the physical storage spans multiple servers (and often locations), and the physical environment is typically owned and managed by a hosting company. These cloud storage providers are responsible for keeping the data available and accessible, and the physical environment protected and running. People and organizations buy or lease storage capacity from the providers to store user, organization, or application data.

Cloud storage is a term that refers to online space that you can use to store your data. As well as keeping a backup of your files on physical storage devices such as external hard drives or USB flash drives, cloud storage provides a secure way to remotely store your important data. Online storage solutions are usually provided using a large network of virtual servers that come with tools for managing files and organizing your virtual storage space.

The data storage needs of companies are constantly growing. Over time, as applications become more complicated, and new customer accounts are added to a company’s records, the data storage needs of any company will grow exponentially.To keep up with storage demands, many companies turn to cloud data storage. This provides numerous benefits for availability, scalability, and redundancy.

However, many business owners worry about the security risks of using cloud storage for data.The best way to overcome such worries is to know the truth about cloud storage security risks. With this in mind, here are some truths about cloud storage security risks:

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Cyber Security Threats Are on the Rise

One of the reasons why there are so many data breaches being featured in the news every year is that there are literally hundreds of millions of attacks being carried out against data storage environments each year.

According to statistics cited by CNN Money, “more than 317 million new pieces of malware – computer viruses or other malicious software – were created last year.” Most of these malware programs rely on older security bugs and vulnerabilities, but the sheer number of unique threat signals is still overwhelming.

There is No “Magic Bullet” Solution to Cloud Storage Security

The sheer number of new threat signals being created on a daily basis, combined with the dozens of different attack strategies employed by hackers, make it virtually impossible to create a “magic bullet” solution to security that can provide perfect protection.

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Any cloud data storage security solution that claims to provide complete protection with a single security layer is not being truthful.

For example, a firewall might protect against external intrusion attempts, but what about requests from a legitimate user account? Compromised user access credentials can let hackers bypass perimeter defenses entirely.

This is not to say that any one security measure is worthless—it’s just that no company should only rely on one security measure, no matter how effective.

Using Multiple Layers of Security is a Must for Cloud Storage

To counter attacks that can come from internal and external sources using countless different strategies, businesses need to employ as many different security layers as possible for their data.

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The more barriers a company can place between hackers and sensitive data, the better. At a minimum, companies should have strong perimeter firewall, data-at-rest encryption, and up-to-date antivirus for their cloud data storage.

Adding other functions, such as multi-factor authentication, single-use security tokens, per-app & per-database-level firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and security event logging (among others) can help to further increase security for data stored on the cloud.

Not All Cloud Data Storage Solutions Are the Same

Different cloud storage service providers will use different technologies and techniques to secure their data. The way that a provider who only does data storage will be different from a full cloud service provider who does data storage, infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, and other cloud-based services.

Many cloud storage providers are fixated on providing cheap storage of files with a focus on integration across multiple devices. Storage-only providers often offer “free” cloud storage, which sounds like a good deal; that is, until businesses see the limitations and lack of security these free solutions impose.

As noted in a article, “Ask around… and you’ll hear sad stories of how cloud storage can go wrong. One of the benefits of paying for an account is that it usually comes with additional support from the provider.” In other words, “free” storage services can cost a business dearly.

When vetting storage providers, companies need to carefully inspect the service agreement to verify exactly what security measures, type of data center, and support will be included with that cloud environment.

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Partnering with a secure cloud provider that employs multi-layered security for your most sensitive data can help minimize your risk of a data breach.