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Never repeat these top 7 cloud mistakes in 2021

Follow our simple rules to take full advantage of cloud technology

Published: October 15, 2021 By Darina Shramko

Title image for Cloud services is simple and helpful for IT and modern society!

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Educational organizations, IT companies, and ordinary users are increasingly moving their applications and data to the cloud. Indeed, this is very convenient: you no longer need to buy flash drives and storage devices because gigabytes of information can be stored online − right in the cloud.

Moreover, cloud technology is one of the most invested products. According to statistics, the global cloud technology market will grow by 17.5% annually and by 2025 will more than double, to $832.1 billion.

However, despite this success, cloud storage technology is not as airy and light as it seems. In the process of transferring files to the cloud, users often encounter curious situations and problems. One wrong step − and all of your photos can become available to a wide range of people. Yes, cloud technologies are still pranksters and amateurs to expose us in a bad light.

Avoiding ridiculous situations and curbing cloud technology takes two simple steps: read this article and follow a few guidelines.

Well, let's not waste a minute!

Disclaimer: All information in this article is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Any illegal copying and distribution of article materials without attribution is prohibited.

What is cloud technology?

So, before moving on to the most common user mistakes when using cloud technologies, let's understand what this technology is and how it works.

Cloud technology is an online tool for storing and sharing custom files of various sizes. The main goal of cloud technology is to facilitate data storage and eliminate drives and other flash overall devices.

The main advantage of this technology is that the user has access to his data but doesn’t have to worry about the infrastructure, operating system, and software with which he works.

By the way, why are cloud technologies called that? Do they have anything to do with the sky? Not at all. The word cloud is a metaphor for complex infrastructure, hiding all the technical details. The technology got its name from its intuitive interface – it’s light, like a cloud.

Cloud Architecture

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There are 3 types of cloud technologies:

  • A public cloud is a system that provides simultaneous access to IT infrastructure for many users. However, users cannot manage and maintain this cloud, so all responsibility rests with its owner.
  • A private cloud is a technology that can be controlled and used by only one subscriber in his interests. The infrastructure for private cloud management can be hosted either at the user's premises, or with an external operator, or partially at the user and operator.
  • A hybrid cloud is a system that combines all the benefits of a public and private cloud. It is a structure of unique objects interconnected by standardized technologies that transfer data or programs between components.

Top 7 mistakes when using cloud technologies

Use remote access

Cloud servers often provide several remote access options at once (for example, via SSH, RDP, or the web console). Unfortunately, they can be compromised due to weak user passwords or credential leaks.

Solution: I advise you to abandon the use of remote access completely. If you use cloud technologies for personal use, you do not need remote access.

However, if we are talking about large organizations, it is necessary to ensure the appropriate level of data protection on the cloud if we cannot waive remote access.

Refusal to encrypt data in the cloud

For heaven's sake, if you still haven't encrypted your data − fix this annoying error urgently!

Encrypted data is your strongest shield against cybercriminals, as decoding files usually takes months and years.

Secure crypto channels are often used in the clouds of large providers. Of course, this can protect against hacking and theft of personal information.

Still, it doesn’t always give a 100% guarantee that there will be no leaks since the most vulnerable point is outside the cloud perimeter − in the client's local infrastructure.

Solution: Encrypt the data and use leak prevention systems, antiviruses, and VPN services.

For encrypting data in the cloud, I recommend the Boxcryptor app.

The Boxcryptor cloud security app

This app encrypts confidential files and folders in Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and many other cloud storages. Boxcryptor is available for both private and commercial use.

You can create an account for free or purchase a complete package of services on the app's website.

Weak passwords

Oh, this is a problem not only the cloud apps users but also for all Internet users. Do not rely on luck - non-encrypting passwords are quickly cracked by the brute force method. Often, poor password protection becomes the cause of a global leak and can cause irreparable damage to a company's reputation.

So, in 2019, due to open access to the BioStar 2 database, biometric data was stolen, used by 5700 organizations worldwide.

Solution: Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) to keep your data safe.

Take a look at an example of weak passwords:

Examples of weak passwords

And here are the passwords you can use:

Examples of strong passwords

Remember that your password must be at least 8 characters long, include upper, and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

Refusing to back up

Yes, I understand that backing up in the cloud is an additional cost that can dramatically increase the cost of monthly cloud services.

Many customers refuse to back up because they don't want to pay the extra ten dollars, but this is a mistake!

I hasten to please you: there are many different schemes for any wallet.

It can be a backup from another provider, a reserve in the local infrastructure with a secure channel to the data center, and an “active-active” site with continuous replication based on cloud data centers. In general, there are many options.

Solution: Always use the backup function. Even if this service costs extra money, don't skip it. What do you think is better − to spend a few dollars on copying or pay with reputation and hundreds of dollars on data recovery in case of a breach?

Refusal to use specialized cloud protections

I highly recommend using third-party services to protect against specific cloud threats. For example, it can be a cloud infrastructure monitoring service in software format or a technical means of restoring the integrity of configurations.

Solution: In addition to standard protection tools (antivirus, VPN), use specialized cloud solutions to ensure the safety of your data on the Internet.

I recommend paying attention to BitGlass and Cisco's Systems Cloudlock apps.

BitGlass helps users manage cloud infrastructures and protects their data from malware and zero-day threats, as well as data leakage.

BitGlass app

Cisco's Systems Cloudlock is irreplaceable in large organizations. The application enables secure transfer and management of users, data, and applications in the cloud structure.

Cisco Cloudlock app

No data masking

You regularly read news about hacks and database leaks on CoolTechZone. Why do you think this is happening? Due to incorrect work with the test casts of these databases. They are used to develop information services. There is nothing wrong with this, except in cases where peoples' data isn't masked.

Solution: When developing applications and client services, always replace actual data with fake data. It will help you avoid hacking your application's databases.

Ignore software and security updates

Cloud apps, like the firmware on the phone, require regular software updates. New software versions usually include bug fixes and improved threat management, so keeping your cloud services up to date is essential.

Some cloud application operators offer services that update software automatically. However, version updates are often not provided by default, so I recommend choosing providers that will promptly warn you about the availability of essential updates.

Solution: Set up automatic version updates if available in your cloud application. If automatic updates are not provided, check the app for new updates once a week.

Conclusion

I am sure that we at least once experienced difficulties in transferring files to the online format, so this article I wanted to help you avoid possible problems in using cloud apps.

Now that you know how to fix bugs, it will be easier for you to befriend cloud technologies and appreciate their benefits.

Don't be afraid to ditch the USB stick in favor of storing files on the Internet − it's convenient.

I wonder what funny stories did you have? Maybe you accidentally posted secret files or your family photo album in the public domain? I was hoping you could share your experience in the comments; it will be interesting for me to discuss it with you!

Good luck & see you soon!

Tags: 
Security
Author
Darina Shramko
Cybersecurity specialist and researcher.

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