Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense in the cloud.
Cloud-based services offer a convenient way to store your data and access that information anywhere through an Internet connection. When you use a cloud-based service provider, you are outsourcing the burden of maintaining and upgrading software, storage, and other IT infrastructure.
A secure cloud environment is an effective way to store data and to manage who can access it. Large corporations and the U.S. Department of Defense, among others, use cloud services. One of the benefits of cloud-based services is that they eliminate the need for local servers, which are attractive targets for attackers.
There are basically three ways to configure your system: Set up your own server, use a free third-party service, or use a paid third-party service.
How can you decide the best way to safeguard sensitive information?
If you want a safe place to store information about your business or organization and you don’t have a highly trained cyber expert on your staff, you’re generally better off using a reputable cloud service provider rather than trying to build and maintain a server yourself.
Take some time to read the entire end-user license agreement—the fine print—for any cloud service provider you are considering, whether their services are free or paid.
Those terms and conditions should spell out what happens to the information you put on the cloud. Will it be collected and sold to third parties? What can the cloud services provider do with your information? Who will have access to your data? How much storage do you need?
It’s generally worth paying for cloud-based services so you can take advantage of better information security and features. A little research should help you find the best, most reputable cloud-based service providers. Make a point of carefully setting up controls that limit access to trusted managers. Calibrate your settings to ensure your private data remains private and can’t be viewed by just anyone. And, make sure those who have access to your cloud-based services uses multi-factor authentication.
Only you can decide the best balance of security, cost, and privacy for your business.
As always, if you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.