The cloud and security – for many companies, both still do not fit together. The question today is actually no longer: “What data can I outsource to the cloud?” But: “How can I better protect my data in the cloud?” Encryption methods are intended to remedy this situation. But which ones are eligible for encrypting data in the cloud? You can find out here.
Why encryption is so important
Do you remember how numerous nude photos of celebrities made headlines in 2014? Or how hackers cracked the passwords and email addresses of millions of users of the Dropbox file hosting service in 2012 and the contents of this database surfaced online in 2016? Or that the email provider Yahoo! It took more than three years to evaluate the extent of a hacker attack in 2013?
All of these incidents are rooted in successful attacks on cloud solutions, which did not necessarily help the cloud get the predicate “safe.” Nevertheless, the way of the data in the cloud is the trend – and almost everyone already uses the offers of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. The question is no longer, when the cloud enters our everyday lives. Instead, it’s about how data in the cloud can be better protected.
Cloud providers are in the obligation
For companies, it’s the horror scenario in general: the loss of data due to a hacker attack. That’s why it’s not surprising that many companies are reluctant to outsource their data to the cloud and rely on security as a service. Nevertheless, there is no way around the cloud – not least because cloud solutions greatly simplify team collaboration.
That’s why it’s even more important for CEOs and technical managers to engage with cloud security. In principle, cloud providers have a duty to protect their cloud solutions with appropriate security measures, including standard encryption methods. Nevertheless, it is advisable that you protect your sensitive company data with your own encryption method already on the way to the data center.
Encryption process at a glance
But where should you best start here? If you search the Internet for encryption methods, the search engine spits you – depending on the search term – probably from a number of cryptic shortcuts. This is because many of the well-known encryption methods are mainly known by their abbreviation. These include, for example, the encryption protocols TLS (Transport Layer Security) and its predecessor SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or the encryption algorithm AES (Advanced Encryption Standard ).
But that’s not the only subdivision for encryption. In general, as the Wikipedia entry shows, encryption methods are divided into symmetric and asymmetric cryptographic methods. There are also the so-called hybrid crypto-methods that use functions from both other encryption methods. From a purely technical point of view, encryption methods are used to protect a source text from unauthorized access to data. This works through one or more keys that match the identity of the sender and recipient. Only when the keys match, the recipient is granted access to the data.
So far that’s the theory.
Manage data securely in the cloud
As you can see, using an additional encryption method is difficult for you to get the best possible protection of your corporate data. Although the cloud providers themselves usually do not have access to your data – we are talking about so-called zero-knowledge – yet data can already be intercepted on the way to the cloud and viewed by third parties.
That’s why you should already encrypt your data on your own device before uploading it to the cloud service. The whole thing works client-side, that is directly on the device of the user. But beware: The administration of passwords lies with the user – so you or your employees. In any case, you should take care to manage all passwords for encryption and decryption accordingly. If you lose your access to your data in the cloud, you will not get there. Because even the cloud service has only an encrypted version of it.
Encryption methods as additional tools
To best protect your corporate data in the cloud, you should encrypt the data before it ever gets stored in the cloud. There are different encryption solutions. These are additionally installed on the terminal and then linked to the selected storage service. These tools use encryption techniques such as the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or similar algorithms discussed above to encrypt your data securely on your device.
There are numerous providers of such encryption solutions. However, no matter which tool you ultimately choose, they all work in a similar way and also provide similar security for your data.
Use cloud solution plus own encryption method
Using cloud solutions is a trend. Outsourcing your data to the cloud offers many benefits to your organization, such as easier team collaboration or less administrative overhead for your IT department. When choosing the right cloud solution, there are a few factors to watch out for. In any case, it makes sense to protect your data with additional encryption techniques before they even end up in the cloud.