Cloud Security: Inputs for practice

As more companies let their employees access information and applications remotely, managers need to think about how they will eliminate security gaps in the cloud. These four options should provide the security you need to protect your company and clients.

Two-Factor Authentication

Image via Flickr by fsse8info

If you let employees access information and apps stored in the cloud, then you will obviously require them to use passwords when they sign in. Unfortunately, passwords don’t offer as much security as many people think they do. In 2014, about two in five people fell victim to stolen and hacked passwords.

Two-factor authentication strengthens cloud security because it relies on more than a single piece of information. After your employees enter their account IDs and passwords, the system will require a second level of identification before it allows access to the cloud.

You have a few options to consider when choosing a two-factor authentication strategy. Popular options include sending a second passcode to the employee’s mobile device, identifying the employee’s computer or mobile device, and authenticating the employee by fingerprint, voice, or other biological signatures.


When installing firewalls to protect apps and data in the cloud, you can choose to use network-based and cloud-based options. More than likely, you will get the highest level of protection by choosing both because it forces hackers to penetrate multiple layers of security. Few criminals want to expend that much effort, so they turn to easier targets.

Cloud Access Security Brokers

Cloud access security brokers (CASBs) have set a new standard in cloud security. In 2015, only 5 percent of large enterprises used CASBs. Experts expect 85 percent of large enterprises to adopt the technology by 2020.

CASBs’ success comes from their ability to fill several cloud security gaps. For instance, Skyhigh designed its CASB to identify Shadow IT cloud services, help companies choose secure cloud services, and enforce various levels of security depending on an employee’s location, device, and operating system.

When your company adopts a CASB to improve cloud security, it gets to take more control over which employees can access and use data stored in the cloud. That level of control can give you peace of mind even when you have employees all over the world using cloud-based apps and data sources.

Virtual Private Networks

Using a virtual private network (VPN) essentially creates a secure online connection between your company’s network and your remote employees. Even though employees will connect to your network remotely, the VPN gives you the same level of security that you would expect from your local network.

When you use a VPN service, you can require employees to access cloud-based information and applications through the company’s private network. Instead of letting them access data directly, requests get routed through the VPN. In most cases, this helps prevent unauthorized access and behaviors. If someone does manage to steal information, though, you will have a record of who used the VPN when the theft occurred. In other words, a VPN can help you catch thieves even when it can’t stop them.

Moving data to the cloud may present some risks, but smart managers can minimize those risks by choosing reliable security measures.