How you can protect your data and ensure privacy when utilizing cloud services | Tech News

How you can protect your data and ensure privacy when utilizing cloud services

As cloud services gain popularity, it is crucial for end users to understand and address the security and privacy concerns associated with cloud computing.

By: NAVANWITA SACHDEV
| Updated on: Jul 11 2023, 10:09 IST
Cloud computing
As we leverage the cloud to make our lives easier, it’s imperative that we consider all the precautions to secure that cloud data. (Pixabay)

In a rapidly digitizing India, cloud computing has become an indispensable tool for businesses and individuals alike, revolutionizing data storage, access, and sharing. Whether it is to store precious photographs or sensitive information, users are leveraging the cloud in many different ways. However, as cloud services gain popularity, it is crucial for end users to understand and address the security and privacy concerns associated with cloud computing.

According to a Thales Group survey report, cloud assets and IoT devices were the biggest targets for cyberattacks in 2023. In India, 53% of respondents said that their IoT devices were prime targets, followed by cloud-based storage (41%) and cloud delivered applications such as software-as-a-service or SaaS (40%). At the same time, 52% of respondents in India said human error was the primary cause of cloud data breaches they suffered. This means a lot is up to the end user in keeping their data safe.

You may be interested in

MobilesTablets Laptops
7% OFF
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • Black Titanium
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 256 GB Storage
23% OFF
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G
  • Green
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 256 GB Storage
Google Pixel 8 Pro
  • Obsidian
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 128 GB Storage
Apple iPhone 15 Plus
  • Black
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 128 GB Storage

“Enterprises continue to see a serious threat landscape in India and globally. In an increasingly cloud-first world, where cloud-based storage is being perceived in India as one of the biggest target for cyberattacks by the report, organisations must maintain better control over their data so they can serve their stakeholders with greater safety and trust,” said Ashish Saraf, VP and Country Director, Thales India.

Also read
Looking for a smartphone? To check mobile finder click here.

As we leverage the cloud to make our lives easier, it's imperative that we consider all the precautions to secure that cloud data. What can we do as end consumers?

Understanding Cloud Needs for Indian Users

Cloud security is of paramount importance in safeguarding sensitive data for users across India. Here's why.

The India public cloud services market revenue totalled US$2.8 billion for the first half of 2022, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semi-annual Public Cloud Services Tracker. This includes infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). The entire India public cloud services market is projected to reach US$13 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 23.1% for 2021-26.

Even globally, in 2023, end-user spending is expected to reach nearly $600 billion according to Gartner.

Cloud computation has permeated the lives of Indian consumers, whose demand is bringing in some of the largest cloud providers to India's shores.

Microsoft is the second largest market holder globally and in India. For instance, more than 70% of the top Bombay Stock Exchange companies use Microsoft's Cloud Solutions. The tech giant recently announced competitive prices for the country. Looking at the growing demand in the country, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched its second data-cluster region in Hyderabad last year. Google, the third-largest provider, accomplished the integration of the Indian government's cloud storage service into Android. This achievement intertwines the national ID system and government documents with the search giant's operating system.

With this kind of widespread usage, we know that cloud isn't going away soon. And it makes for a compelling case to be aware about securing the precious user data that the cloud holds, especially since the average cloud user can be of varying levels of technological awareness, industry focus, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Understanding Cloud Security

At a basic level, cloud security revolves around protecting data stored in the cloud from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other potential threats. While your cloud service provider will have invested heavily in security measures, as an end user, you can play a crucial role in safeguarding your data.

“If users proactively manage their cloud security, they can significantly secure their cloud data and privacy and ensure their peace of mind,” Sashank Purighalla, Founder and CEO at BOS Framework, a cloud enablement and compliance platform, told HT Tech.

1. Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication

Creating strong, unique passwords and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) is the first line of defense. End users should avoid using easily guessable passwords and regularly update them to maintain security. For users with limited technological awareness, emphasizing the importance of creating strong passwords and enabling 2FA is crucial.

Purighalla explained with an example, “One of the significant benefits of cloud computing is that many processes have become simplified and often automated. However, this can lull users into a false sense of security. For starters, using a weak password is like leaving your house keys in the door and hoping nobody enters. So, it's no surprise that strong passwords are a must—passwords should be at least 12 characters and include symbols and upper and lower cases.”

2. Encryption and Data Protection

If you have sensitive data in the cloud, utilizing encryption techniques is essential to secure it. Encrypting data before it is uploaded to the cloud will ensure that even if an unauthorized access occurs, the information remains unreadable.

3. Access Controls and User Permissions

Cloud service providers offer robust access control mechanisms, allowing users to define who can access their data and what actions they can perform. As an end user, you have the power to carefully manage your user permissions and restrict access to only trusted individuals or entities.

4. Regular Software Updates and Patch Management

Make sure that you keep cloud applications, operating systems, and devices up to date with the latest security patches. Providers often release updates to address vulnerabilities, and prompt installation can prevent potential exploits.

Purighalla also emphasized the need for anti-virus software. “Consumers can also protect themselves from malware by purchasing antivirus software, which detects suspicious code, tests it in a controlled environment, and deletes it before it harms files and devices,” he said.

5. Industry-Specific Security Guidance

It's good to recognize that different industries have varying data protection needs, which means making yourself aware of industry-specific guidance becomes imperative. Whether it's healthcare, finance, or e-commerce, tailored security practices and compliance standards can help you understand the unique risks you face and adopt appropriate security measures.

Ensuring Privacy in the Cloud

Preserving privacy is equally important when utilizing cloud services. End users must be aware of the potential risks and take proactive measures to protect their privacy.

1. Read and Understand Privacy Policies

Before subscribing to a cloud service, thoroughly read and understand the privacy policies and terms of service. Ensure that the provider respects user privacy and has clear guidelines on data handling, retention, and sharing.

2. Data Classification and Storage

Classify your data based on its sensitivity and importance. If any information is critical or personally identifiable, encrypt and store it separately, ensuring stricter access controls and limited sharing.

3. Cloud Provider Selection

Choose reputable cloud service providers that prioritize security and privacy. Look for providers that comply with recognized standards, such as ISO 27001, and have strong track records in data protection. Given India's data localization regulations, it's a good idea to prioritize cloud service providers that store data within India's borders. This ensures compliance with local laws and regulations while addressing concerns related to cross-border data transfers.

Companies with a reputation for keeping security and privacy at the forefront of the products they build are also recommended. ”The biggest problem that businesses have is broken architectures. You cannot inject nice tools into vulnerabilities and expect to achieve security. Resilience and integrity are the results of sound architecture and best practices,” said Purighalla.

4. Data Backup and Redundancy

Regularly back up your data stored in the cloud to minimize the risk of data loss. You can also go for multiple backups, both within the cloud and on local devices, to provide an additional layer of protection for critical data.

5. Regular Audits and Monitoring

Monitor cloud services for any suspicious activity or unauthorized access. For this, you can regularly review access logs and perform security audits to identify and address potential vulnerabilities.

6. Use VPN in Public

Since free public Wi-Fi is now a must for every cafe and bar, it has also become a hotspot for those looking to access unprotected devices and their information. So, for end users who frequently use public Wi-Fi, virtual private networks (VPNs) are an easy addition to help protect their data.

“VPNs work by creating secure tunnels between a device and a VPN server; it can then scramble and encrypt any information that passes through, keeping it safe from prying eyes,” said Purighalla.

7. Affordable and Accessible Security Solutions

Cloud security isn't just for the rich. There are cost-effective cloud security solutions out there. If you're on a budget, go for open-source security tools, free encryption software, and affordable data backup options to protect your data without compromising.

Cloud Secure

As India embraces the digital era, understanding and addressing cloud security and privacy concerns becomes paramount for users across the country. By implementing robust security measures, such as strong passwords, encryption, and access controls, users can minimize the risk of unauthorized access.

Understanding privacy policies, carefully selecting cloud providers, and regularly monitoring data can further enhance data security and privacy. By staying informed and proactive, end users can harness the full potential of cloud computing while safeguarding their valuable information in the digital realm.

Catch all the Latest Tech News, Mobile News, Laptop News, Gaming news, Wearables News , How To News, also keep up with us on Whatsapp channel,Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 11 Jul, 10:09 IST
NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS