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By Samantha Fecteau • November 9, 2018

Document Security and the Cloud: 4 Reasons Why These Go Hand in Hand

Document security is imperative to the success of any business. To prevent serious risks, be they financial, legal, or even reputational, companies must be able to protect sensitive documents and customer information. In the past few years we’ve seen countless examples of how bad security practices can lead to upheaval in any company, often leading to media defilings and hefty fines.

Some may fear a correlation between these rising numbers and the digitization of enterprises, or more specifically, the migration of data to the Cloud. In part one of our series on document security, we’ll tell you why the seemingly scary and nebulous Cloud is actually the safest option for your sensitive data.

Common misconceptions on Cloud security

According to a report published by Alert Logic, on-premise environment users experience over twice the amount of cyber attacks on average when compared with service provider customers. So why all the fear surrounding Cloud solutions?

Much of the paranoia around the Cloud is due to the fact that the approach feels insecure, with sensitive information stored on systems that are outside your company’s control or ownership. But it’s important to recognize that control does not always equal security. What’s most important is who has access and by what means.

In reality, the majority of security breaches mediatized in recent years, like Target’s damaging data breach in 2013, or other high-profile breaches including names like Facebook, Sony, and even the Pentagon, were caused not by Cloud shortcomings, but by human error. Hackers were able to obtain personal information via third-party vendors, not by hacking the Cloud directly, which is much more difficult to achieve.

Luckily, most Cloud solutions have anticipated this or are increasingly doing so. Cloud-based platforms are typically built with security as a priority, and solutions like this document management system have accounted for said breaches by integrating security features directly into the platform infrastructure.

The truth is, companies need Cloud partners

While some large companies can afford to pour millions of dollars into corporate IT security and compliance infrastructures, most organizations don’t have the financial resources to properly combat human error and cybercrime. As the risks associated with security-related shortcomings continue to grow, only public cloud companies have the resources and expertise required to maintain secure computing, storage, networking infrastructure, along with reliable user authentication and identity management protocols. Why not leverage a solution that does all this at the fraction of the cost of legacy systems?

If you aren’t convinced yet, here are four key ways the Cloud can help bring better security to your business:

1. User authentication

Document permissions and user authentication are life-savers when it comes to ensuring proper organizational security. Cloud solutions are user-based, so whether you’re using G Suite, Office 365, or another Cloud service, the emphasis shifts to controlling user access to different business applications, data and files. This is particularly relevant when we stop to consider that the biggest security threat is not a virus or hacker but the user him/herself. If you properly train your users to take care of their credentials, your data will remain secure.

Public cloud companies are investing heavily in features like multi-factor authentication, strong password requirements, and physical security keys like Google's Titan Security Key, to make sure people accessing your data are who they claim to be. With multi-layered authentication practices, organizations reduce the risk of mistaking posers for authorized persons. 

2. Controlled access permissions

That brings us to our next point. With Cloud solutions, you can customize permissions on each individual file and prevent unauthorized users from having document access. While this alone eliminates security risks that come with saving important files to USB drives or making multiple copies of files, you can reduce the risk even further by considering automated file access permissions.

While the ambiguity of the Cloud may be a source of fear for some, the lack of physical presence is in fact conducive to its level of security. Because data is stored off-site, employees, clients, and visitors are physically separated from any critical or confidential data. This makes it that much more complicated for third parties to intervene or intercept where unauthorized, reducing risk of human error. Out of sight, out of hacker hands. 

3. Automated backups

Increased threats of ransomware mean companies need to be thinking more about smart backup strategies. Yet as users, the importance of systematic backups is often overlooked. With the Cloud, your information is automatically backed up and encrypted for extra protection against hackers or unauthorized external parties. Access to previous document versions and customized permission settings meanwhile compensate for any risk of human error, or deleting unwanted files. Your company will be covered in the unlikely event of a security breach without spending a fortune on traditional IT backup solutions.

4. Frequent auditing

When your documents are in the public cloud, the provider is in charge of network security, which means that their security team is monitoring the network audit logs for you. While legacy systems can be difficult to update as companies evolve, Cloud service providers undergo yearly audits for automatic updates which help protect against security flaws.

With your company’s documents safely maintained in the Cloud, your aggregated audit data will be centralized and readily available for security analysis using systems like BigQuery for fast, cost effective analysis. When combining real-time monitoring with frequent and thorough auditing, IT teams can dramatically reduce the risk and impact of security threats. 

The Cloud is your friend

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to explaining how the cloud can help you protect your data. Unfortunately hackers won’t cease to exist, and while we can’t erase the risk of human error, you can minimize these threats by securing your documents in the public cloud.

Implementing optimal security measures may seem like a daunting task, but the right information can go a long way. While there may not be any perfect, one-size-fits-all strategy to document security, you can start by seeking help in the right places.

For everything you need to know about document security, download our document security white paper.