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Monitoring Access To Sensitive Data In The Cloud: A Comprehensive Guide

Cloud Computing | Updated On October 6th, 2021

Monitoring Access To Sensitive Data In The Cloud: A Comprehensive Guide

A business undergoes a myriad of changes over the course of time. Strategies are revised and new ideas keep pouring in to fuel the growth and ensure all-round success of the company. Following the popularity of the cloud and the associated cost benefits, most businesses across the world have proceeded towards the cloud.

Besides being budget-friendly, cloud computing has evolved as a highly time-saving solution to a slew of business requirements. By taking the business to the cloud, entrepreneurs store their information on the internet instead of saving it on their local or dedicated computers. This information can be sensitive in a number of ways:

a. it may include customer details such as email addresses, bank statements, contact numbers, account details, etc.,

b. their financial records,

c. company’s account details,

d. personal documents, etc.

Confidential information of any sort needs to be secured. Therefore, there is always a need to monitor sensitive data in the cloud.

Why do firms lag behind in monitoring their online data?

Research claims that out of all the firms using cloud technology for data storage, only 29% invested in 24*7 monitoring of their data. Other 71% do not realize that data monitoring is just as important as installing a security camera in their office building.

Several reasons can be held responsible for not investing in data security:

i) Shortage of adequate cybersecurity skills. Firms may have a shortage of staff members to monitor data access activities all the time.

ii) Lack of financial resources. Some firms claimed that they could not afford to monitor all data access activities as it was expensive.

iii) Absence of monitoring tools. Not having the right analytics tools and technical controls to monitor data access is another reason why sensitive data is often left in the open.

What makes data monitoring a necessity?

Data, irrespective of the type or category, can be critical for a company. If not effectively monitored, information stored on the cloud can be accessible to those who are not authorized. Users accessing the data saved on the cloud not only require it to be available 24*7 but also, want it to be fully safe and secure round-the-clock.

1. Data security is a mandate:

Data security is a mandate for businesses relying on cloud technology for storing information and running applications. Data not monitored adequately can be exposed to thieves and hackers. Some of the reasons that lead to these risks are discussed below:

i) Data is stored away from its owners.

Most cloud service providers are located far away from where their customers are located. In most cases, entrepreneurs seeking cloud services are not aware of where their critical information is saved. Entrepreneurs need to ensure that the cloud service provider they have chosen is in compliance with the data security regulations that their business requires.

ii) Unauthorized people may gain access to sensitive business data.

Another important reason to monitor your critical business data is that anyone can gain access to the data on the cloud. Since the information is stored on a remote server, the service provider’s employees or a third party may gain access to the data.

iii) Data breaches occur without warning.

Hackers are always on the lookout. Any loose end can be captured by a hacker. Data breach may occur while transporting data or a hacker may gain access to the data by other means.

Every business has to follow some fixed regulations for data security. Thus, it is imperative for data owners to ensure if the service provider has installed a secure firewall and antivirus program, invested in data encryption to keep its data safe and followed all security guidelines for complete data security.

How To Monitor Access To Sensitive Data In The Cloud?

1. Control Access To Your Data

Controlling access to your customer data can be done in four elaborate ways:

i) Providing end-to-end visibility

Just knowing who has access to your remotely stored data can be a solution to the risks associated with your data security. End-to-end visibility of those handling your sensitive information is thus necessary.

ii) Ensuring privileged access to the data

With privileged user access management, owners of data can ensure that higher authority users such as managers and administrators cannot gain access to your personalized accounts.

iii) Securing access to sensitive information

Additional data security measures such as data encryption can be helpful in managing access to your critical data. Only users who are in possession of the encryption key can access the information stored on the cloud.

iv) Monitor and audit access to the stored data

There are several reasons that make monitoring and auditing of stored data necessary. Several monitoring tools are available online-account management tools, identity management solutions and data security technologies. Your cloud service provider can also leverage you with tools and programs to ensure efficient monitoring and auditing.

There are 2 benefits of regular monitoring and auditing-

One, by monitoring the visitors any suspicious activity can be identified and a data breach can be prevented beforehand.

Two, in case a breach happens, the culprits can be identified and a major data loss can be prevented.

 2. Invest In Data Protection

As the amount of data on the cloud is increasing by the day, the need to protect it is also on the rise. There are two key aspects of data protection- data availability and data management. This simply means minimum downtime for the users to ensure they have access to data whenever needed and no data loss when transporting it from one source to the other.

3. An Efficient Incident Response Strategy

An incident response strategy is helpful in case a breach happens. It gives the user the power to react in real-time. Custom alerts can be set to bring any suspicious or abnormal activity to the owner’s and service provider’s notice.

A Final Thought

Based on the discussion above, there are two important aspects that ensure complete data security-controlled access and a trustworthy cloud services provider.

Data including customer email addresses, receipts, contact numbers, and everything in between needs to be protected from the third party. And only a trustworthy, as well as efficient vendor, can ensure complete security to this data.



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Saloni Arora

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