The security of cloud-based software tools

At the latest since the major data leaks of recent years, it has become clear that the security of all our personal information is of great importance within the Internet society. This is also an important aspect for companies that use software tools.

After all, in the course of digitalization they are shifting a lot of sensitive employee data and business secrets to the cloud. More and more warning voices warn against the uncertainty of cloud-based applications. But what is really behind it? What possibilities are there for companies to protect sensitive data in the cloud? These questions will be explored in the following.

Data in the cloud is increasing daily

The industry association Bitkom occupies: Two out of three companies today use the cloud as the basis for their software applications. This makes the modern data management system the absolute front-runner among storage options – and the trend is rising. So-called cloud computing is being discussed in 21 percent of the companies not yet involved or the switch to it is already planned. This presents the providers of such software tools with the challenge of making their systems more secure. But it is not only the providers who are challenged, users should also familiarize themselves with various security variants before using them.

Public cloud vs. private version

The form of the cloud on which software tools are based plays a particularly important role in the security of software tools. Experts distinguish between two forms:

  • Public cloud: These include Google Drive and Box. They offer a fully equipped storage space on the network. Different security systems are already built in. However, these are standardized and are more easily cracked by hackers than the second version. Read more about security in public wifi.
  • Private cloud: This is a completely independent software system. Most of these are set up independently of public providers. This automatically leads to more control over the data stored in it. The disadvantage, especially for companies: A significantly higher technical effort.

This is how companies can protect their access points

Companies face completely different challenges in protecting data than private individuals, for example. Since many companies bundle all processes in a special ERP system, it is not only a question of establishing encryption or choosing a good server location. Especially in large companies, the cloud accesses of many employees must be additionally protected. Authentication and authorization are the key terms for data security in the cloud. There are a number of possible solutions:

1st Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

This software is placed between the individual employees and the cloud storage of each tool. It is a kind of security gateway that manages access. Monitoring and management are at the very top of these systems. This makes it possible to trace which employee had access to which cloud-based software from which location and at what time.

Multiple authentication

The two- or multi-level authentication locks are probably the most important elements in the protection of company data in the cloud. Possible are, for example:

  • Combination of several passwords with each other.
  • One-time accesses, each of which is issued separately.
  • Objects that are integrated into the authentication process, such as a USB stick.

The more elements this multiple authentication contains, the more secure the data is in cloud-based software. Therefore, at least two, if not three, levels should be built in.

Granting different rights of use

This includes not only the authentication of individual employees, but also the authorization of rights within the cloud. In concrete terms, this means that every person who has access is granted different rights of use. An administrator can grant these freedoms individually. In this way, each employee can only view the data that is relevant to him or her. This is the so-called least privilege principle. However, it is important that these access rights are always up-to-date and dynamic. In this way, changes can be reacted to quickly and the workflow with the cloud-based system is not interrupted. Companies should also keep in mind that if employees leave the company, all authorizations will be revoked – otherwise sensitive data can quickly disappear.