Digital Cloud Network

The Importance of Data Encryption on Public Cloud Platforms - How to Secure Your Information in the Cloud

Reliance on public cloud platforms for storing, sharing and accessing data has become increasingly prevalent. This data is, however, not as private as users may assume. 

Public cloud operators often have access to data due to technical reasons like infrastructure management, service provisioning, malware scanning, technical support or troubleshooting. Furthermore, attacks by third parties (organized crime or state-run) also can expose private data, leading to consequences which may result in the public exposure of personal data, attempted ransom, theft of intellectual property or the undermining of public opinions via disinformation campaigns through rivaling states. This is no abstract threat, as the successful ethical hacking into Azure, one the leading global platforms, shows.
 
To address this concern, data encryption emerges as a vital solution, providing an added layer of security and ensuring that only authorized individuals can access sensitive information. In this article, we will explore the significance of encrypting data on public cloud platforms and highlight effective encryption solutions for both private users and companies. 

Understanding the Vulnerability of Data on Public Cloud Platforms

It is essential for users to acknowledge that their data on public cloud platforms is not inherently confidential. Cloud operators have the capability to access and view the stored information, which they may do for legal requirements, self-interest, or to improve security.For example, Microsoft even scans password protected data for malware. This realization underscores the necessity for additional safeguards to ensure data privacy.

Encrypting Data with Personal Key Material

To maintain the protection of data during transmission and storage in the cloud, the best approach is to employ encryption on the user's computer using personal key material. This strategy ensures that the data remains secure even if unauthorized access to the cloud or the transport channel occurs. It is crucial to choose strong encryption algorithms and adhere to best practices, such as implementing robust password requirements, to fortify the encryption process.

The suggested solutions vary between private users and companies. This article suggests 2 solutions offered by Utimaco.

Companies

To ensure the protection of large volumes of sensitive data and maintain centralized administration, organizations should implement a robust data encryption solution. This will increase the capability to effectively safeguard data from both external threats and unauthorized internal access.

Additionally, embracing a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) as part of a resilient solution can further enhance authentication and control, verifying the identity of users, devices, and applications accessing the system.

There are several best practices that organizations can consider when implementing such a solution:

  • Role-based and Group-based Encryption: Implementing role-based and group-based encryption allows for granular control over data access. By assigning specific roles and groups, organizations can define who can access certain data, minimizing the risk of unauthorized viewing or modifications.
  • Flexible Licensing Model: Opting for a flexible licensing model based on users enables organizations to adapt their data encryption solution to their specific needs. This ensures that the solution can scale as the company grows, without unnecessary financial burdens.
  • Transparent User Experience: A user-friendly and transparent interface for the encryption solution is crucial to facilitate adoption and minimize user errors. By providing a seamless and intuitive experience, organizations can encourage employees to utilize encryption consistently, reducing the risk of data breaches.
  • Separation of Duties between Network Administrator and Security Officer: To maintain a robust security posture, it is essential to establish a clear separation of duties between the network administrator and the security officer. This segregation ensures that no single individual has unrestricted access to both the encryption system and the sensitive data, minimizing the risk of internal breaches.

By adhering to these best practices applied around a robust encryption solution, organizations can effectively protect their data company-wide, maintain compliance with regulations, and mitigate the risks associated with unauthorized access or data breaches. 

Moreover, a highly effective solution would grant organizations the ability to safeguard internal data from unauthorized viewing by IT administrators or other individuals while allowing them to handle the files themselves, for instance for backup purposes. Even external IT service providers would be enabled to manage files without gaining access to their contents. This will give companies flexibility to optimize processes and workflows to their needs including the outsourcing of administrative (IT-) work while enhancing the security level of their infrastructure. 

Private Users

LAN Crypt 2Go is a versatile solution for private users seeking password-based strong encryption for their files. This tool offers multi-platform support, secure key storage, as well as seamless encryption and decryption processes. Its user-friendly nature makes it an accessible option for individuals concerned about data privacy. Furthermore, LAN Crypt 2Go is available for personal use at no cost. Organizations can license a branded version for safely sharing files with customers, clients, or other external contacts.

Safeguarding Sensitive Information and Ensuring Compliance

By employing encryption solutions and implementing PKI, companies can effectively protect sensitive data, comply with regulatory requirements, and prevent unauthorized access to their files. These measures enhance data security both within the organization and when utilizing cloud services, mitigating the financial and legal risks associated with data breaches and unauthorized data access.

Utimaco’s decade-long experience in providing data protection and privacy as well as regulatory compliance to highly data sensitive sectors like finance, government, or healthcare made the described solutions mature, stable, and reliable.

Conclusion

In times when data privacy is of paramount importance, encrypting data on public cloud platforms becomes more imperative. Data is vulnerable. Private users and companies need to take proactive steps to safeguard their information by following a ‘shared responsibility model’. This means that cloud providers must monitor and respond to security threats relating to the underlying infrastructure of the cloud. End users, including individuals and organizations, are responsible for safeguarding the data and other assets stored in the cloud environment.

Implementing encryption solutions such as u.trust LAN Crypt in conjunction with PKI for centralized encryption enables individuals and organizations to maintain control over their data, ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and compliance.

On public cloud platforms, this is a crucial step to securing sensitive information from unauthorized access. Adopting suitable encryption solutions and best practices strengthens data protection privacy and confidentiality while harnessing the benefits of cloud services.

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