Small businesses are increasingly turning to cloud solutions to streamline their operations and boost their efficiency. However, the rise in cloud usage has also led to an increase in cloud security threats. The need for small business cloud security is more critical than ever to protect your company, customers, and assets.
In this guide, we will discuss the importance of cloud security for small businesses and how tools like Team Password can help mitigate risks against it.
Before we dive in, here are the key concerns you need to know about cloud security for small businesses:
- Data Breaches: Data breaches are a common concern for small business cloud security because they can tarnish brand reputation and consumer trust.
- Compliance Violations: Compliance violations are another concern because violations can result in hefty fines.
- Third-party Risks: Small business cloud security can be significantly improved by diminishing the amount of third-party vendors accessing your cloud.
- Data Leaks: Without proper encryption and access controls, your cloud data is at risk of a security breach. Once that information is acquired, it can be shared anywhere, putting you, your customers, and your assets at risk.
Read on to learn about best practices for small business cloud security.
[Table of Contents]
- Common Cloud Security Risks for Small Businesses
- Cloud Security for Small Businesses: Best Practices to Follow
- How TeamPassword Can Help You Secure Your Cloud
Common Cloud Security Risks for Small Businesses
A majority of small businesses use cloud services to ease operations, boost efficiency, and ensure scalability. Before delving into our small business cloud security tips, let’s expand on how dangerous cloud security breaches can be. Here are the most common cloud security risks faced by small businesses today.
A majority of the data businesses store in their cloud is sensitive, whether it is user data or proprietary information. While this is a helpful solution, if this data is protected by inadequate security measures, it is all at risk of being breached.
The impact of these data breaches can be far-reaching and catastrophic for affected businesses and clients. How many times have you heard "X company data breach" on the news? These attacks not only affect those whose data is now compromised but can tank a brand’s reputation and consumer trust.
Various industries and jurisdictions have strict compliance requirements regarding the management of data stored or used in the cloud. Small businesses must adhere to these requirements or risk facing penalties.
Two examples of such industries are the GDPR and HIPAA.
The GDPR is a European regulation that governs how businesses worldwide use or manage the data of E.U. residents. Breaching GDPR rules can lead to hefty fines.
HIPAA is an American regulation that dictates how U.S. healthcare organizations must handle user data. Violations can result in civil and criminal penalties.
If your business falls under GDPR or HIPAA rules, a cloud security breach can put you on the receiving end of legal repercussions.
Many small businesses make the mistake of letting any employee have access to sensitive data. 99% of all cloud security failures are related to human error. An untrained or unauthorized employee accessing sensitive data can create an opening for cyber-attacks through phishing, social engineering, and other means. Minimize such small business cloud security risks by implementing processes and guardrails that restrict access to your sensitive data.
Common examples of security risks include:
- Ex-employees retaining access: Individuals who no longer work for you yet retain access to sensitive company information pose a threat to your security whether through data breaches or unauthorized use.
- Vendors with poor security practices: Using a third-party vendor can jeopardize your small business by exposing your vulnerabilities to cybercriminals who know how to manipulate them.
- Lack of network monitoring: Without proper network monitoring, security threats and breaches that occur will go undetected. Proper oversight is key to early detection and action.
By implementing these processes and guardrails, small businesses can significantly reduce cloud security risks and better protect their sensitive data from potential threats.
Most small businesses rely on various third-party cloud service providers without realizing that many of these providers come with unique security issues.
Your cloud data storage security relies on the security strength of your cloud storage provider. If your provider has lax security and data handling practices, you’ve set yourself up for trouble.
Cloud Security for Small Businesses: Best Practices to Follow
Breaches in cloud and data security can be costly. Now that you know the dangers posed by inadequate small business cloud security, let’s look at the best practices for securing your cloud operations.
1. Evaluate Your Cloud Provider
The cloud solution provider you choose greatly influences security. We recommend working with a cloud service provider like Team Password, which has a track record of satisfying security and compliance requirements.
When evaluating a cloud provider to verify their security capabilities, you'll want to:
- Understand Your Security Needs: Define your security needs by knowing the type of data you'll be sending or storing and the level of security it requires.
- Compare Cloud Providers: Identify cloud providers that provide the services you need and compare them. Your comparison should focus on each provider’s security offerings, measures, and track record.
Give preference to providers offering fast and dependable security support to help you identify and resolve security issues quickly.
2. Establish Cloud Security Policies
Establishing your cloud security policies clarifies how your small business will go about using cloud solutions safely. The process involves creating and communicating clear guidelines your team must follow to use and secure cloud services. An effective cloud security policy should cover:
- Data Management: Your cloud security policy should state how to handle, store, transmit, and backup sensitive data via the cloud. It should also specify who should have permission to interact with sensitive data and the encryption standards for securing stored and transmitted data.
- User Access Control: Your cloud security policy should specify who can access specific cloud systems and data. It should also state the requirements a person must fulfill to gain access, according to data types, and the circumstances in which a person can lose said access.
- Security Awareness: One of the most common pitfalls on a team is the use of weak passwords. Your cloud policy should include training that teaches employees about cyber threats and how to spot, prevent, and respond to them.
- Threat Response: The policy should spell out how to respond to different security incidents. It should also specify who does what, such as who is responsible for incident reporting, response, and recovery.
3. Train Your Team on Cloud Security
Humans are the weakest link in a company’s security infrastructure, which is why cyber attackers use social engineering tactics. Strengthen your small business cloud security by training and educating your team to be your first line of defense.
No matter how basic it may seem, routinely reiterating best practices to your team is crucial. Reviewing methods as simple as employees not sharing systems, passwords, or manager credentials demonstrates your dedication to cloud security and sets an expectation among your team.
Should you feel it is warranted, you may choose to offer specialized training to a select few team members. This training would teach your team how to identify and respond to various cyber-attacks, including a notification chain in the event of a cyberattack.
4. Complete an Audit of Who Has Access
An audit of which employees or stakeholders have access to which systems and data will help you stay on top of user access control. In the event of a problem, the audit will reveal if there were any unauthorized data access points, allowing you to restrict their access before they can cause damage.
This helps prevent potential exploitation with the early detection and resolution of potential security gaps, including dormant accounts that need to be deactivated. While you can perform audits annually, we recommend doing them more regularly, especially if you handle highly sensitive data or frequently change employees.
5. Use a Password Manager
A password manager offers a simple, affordable, and effective way to optimize small business cloud security. Tools like TeamPassword, safeguard your credentials and prevents unauthorized access to your cloud-based tools and sensitive data. Password managers effectively create and manage strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts and applications, reducing the risk of security breaches.
Team Password stores your login details and automatically fills them in when you log in. This is not only convenient but enhances security by allowing you to use complex passwords without having to worry about forgetting them or having to share them with too many people.
Our Secure Unique Password Generator and Activity Monitoring are just some of the tools we offer to help increase your cloud security. The password generator helps generate randomized, highly secure passwords and enters them into your cloud solutions. The activity monitoring tool lets you monitor who’s using which login details and provides real-time email notifications when password or user modifications occur.
How TeamPassword Can Help You Secure Your Cloud
TeamPassword provides a fast, easy, and highly secure way to store and share team logins and passwords. Our affordable password manager is suitable for businesses of all sizes, allowing your team to access and manage passwords from mobile and computer systems. We even offer Chrome, Firefox, and Safari extensions that let your team load login details from their preferred browsers.
Sign up today to experience the many benefits of using TeamPassword to optimize your cloud security.