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What Is Cloud Data Protection? Benefits & Best Practices

by Chris Brook on Monday February 26, 2024

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Companies embracing cloud storage need to ensure those services are bound by the same or more security as traditional platforms. We look at the challenges of cloud data protection, best practices, and how DLP can help protect sensitive data on the move in this blog.

As cloud computing services continue to gain prominence and enjoy increasing adoption, businesses must ensure their assets deployed to the cloud are afforded the same or more security typical of traditional platforms. 


Embracing cloud data protection ensures the organization’s apps and critical assets are secured against threats.

What Is Cloud Data Protection?

Cloud data protection is securing data stored online via cloud storage solutions. It involves implementing various strategies, policies, controls, and technologies to protect data from threats like loss, leaks, unauthorized access, and other cybersecurity threats. This includes encryption of data, strong user authorization, audit trails, data backup and recovery, and more. 


The primary purpose of cloud data protection is to ensure data integrity, confidentiality, and availability while ensuring organizations comply with relevant regulations.

Why Do Companies Need Cloud Data Protection?

Companies need cloud data protection for several reasons, including to reap some of these advantages:

  • Enhanced Security: Cloud data protection isn’t only meant for run-of-the-mill security. Rather, it is meant to provide advanced threat protection, safeguarding sensitive business and customer data from cybersecurity threats like hacks, data breaches, and malware. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Many industries are required by law to protect certain data. For example, healthcare and financial institutions are subjected to regulations like HIPAA and GDPR that require stringent data privacy protections.
  • Business Continuity: In the event of a disaster, whether natural or man-made, having data securely stored and backed up in the cloud can help ensure business continuity. Consequently, cloud protection solutions often include disaster recovery plans to ensure this.
  • Data Accessibility: Cloud data protection ensures corporate and customer data is not only safe but organized, managed, and highly accessible for users. This data accessibility is particularly important for companies with remote or mobile workforces.
  • Reputation Management: A strong cloud data protection strategy can boost a company's reputation by demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding customer data. Conversely, data breaches can lead to devastating reputational damage.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: It can be more cost-effective for businesses to use cloud data protection services, as these reduce the need for substantial capital investment in data storage infrastructure. For instance, there is no need to purchase costly hardware, acquire physical space, or endure maintenance hassles.
  • Scalability: As a business grows, so does its amount of data. Cloud data protection allows businesses to easily scale up their data storage and protection needs.
  • Data Integrity: Data stored in the cloud can be threatened by ransomware or other forms of cyber-attack. With appropriate cloud data protection, the integrity of the data is maintained, ensuring it can be fully restored after an attack.

What Are the Challenges of Cloud Data Protection?

While cloud data protection is immensely beneficial, it nonetheless poses some challenges and downsides that organizations should find ways to mitigate. 

  • Data Visibility: In a cloud environment, data can be stored in multiple locations and across many geographic locations. As a result, this makes it difficult for organizations to have a complete view of where all their data resides. This lack of visibility can make it harder to manage and protect the data effectively.
  • Compliance: Companies, especially those that operate in regulated industries, face the challenge of ensuring their cloud data protection practices comply with different regulations. These regulations may vary by country or region, making compliance a complex task to undertake.
  • Shared Responsibility: In a cloud environment, the responsibility for data protection is often shared between the cloud service provider and the customer. There must be clarity about who is responsible for what, leading to potential misjudgments and vulnerabilities.
  • Multicloud Environment: Many organizations use multiple cloud providers, each with its security measures and protocols. Ensuring consistent data protection across different cloud environments can be a significant challenge.
  • Data Recovery: In case of a data loss event, retrieving or restoring data from the cloud could be challenging and may depend on the backup and recovery solutions provided by the cloud service provider. For this reason, file protection must be incorporated to prevent ransomware and facilitate data recovery. 
  • Insider Threats: A threat might not always come from outside. An authorized user with access to sensitive data can become a serious security risk. Controlling user access and monitoring user behavior is a critical challenge in a cloud environment. However, this might be undermined because of blurred lines of accountability with the concept of shared responsibility in the cloud environment.
  • Third-party Risks: In a cloud environment, data can be accessed by third-party vendors providing various services. To mitigate supply chain attacks, managing these potential risks and ensuring that these parties follow strict data protection practices is essential.

What Are the Cloud Data Protection Best Practices?

To effectively protect data on your cloud environments, you must adopt tried-and-true practices, like the following:

  • Data Encryption: All data, whether at rest or in transit, should be encrypted. This ensures the data remains unreadable and unusable even if unauthorized access occurs.
  • Regular Backups: Regular backups are crucial in preventing data loss in the event of a cyberattack or system failure. These backups should be stored offsite or in another cloud environment, so they can remain safe if the primary storage is compromised.
  • Manage Access Controls: Implement strict access controls to ensure only authorized individuals can access data. Use identity and access management tools to manage permissions effectively.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct audits to check for vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with industry regulations. These audits can also provide valuable insights to improve your cloud security strategy.
  • Security Policy: Implement a comprehensive security policy covering all aspects of data security, including how data is stored, processed, and transferred. 
  • Use Secured Connections: Never traffic in plain text. Always use secure and encrypted connections to transfer data over the internet.
  • Educate Employees: Your team members should be educated about known security protocols and best practices so they can understand the importance of maintaining data privacy.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-factor authentication offers an additional layer of security that can prevent unauthorized access to cloud data.
  • Disaster Recovery Plans: In addition to regular backups, create a disaster recovery plan to ensure that you can quickly restore data and resume operations during an incident.
  • Use Cloud Services Wisely: Choose cloud service providers who prioritize security and offer tools and services for data protection. Ensure the provider aligns with your company's data protection needs and compliance requirements.

Understand How Cloud DLP Can Help with Cloud Data Protection

Cloud Data Loss Prevention (DLP) refers to the tools and processes designed to ensure unauthorized users do not lose, misuse, or access sensitive data.


Here's how Cloud DLP helps with cloud data protection:

  • Detection and Monitoring: DLP technologies can detect and monitor data in use and transit. They can identify potential breaches or leaks and alert the appropriate teams in real time.
  • Data Classification: Cloud DLP solutions automatically classify and label sensitive data such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Intellectual Property (IP), and other confidential business info. This makes it easier to apply appropriate access controls and enforce security policies.
  • Encryption and Masking: Some DLP solutions provide sophisticated encryption or data masking features. They can automatically encrypt sensitive data before it is moved to the cloud or mask some aspects of sensitive data to ensure it remains secure.
  • Policy Enforcement: DLP solutions can automate the enforcement of data security policies. If a potential violation is detected, the DLP tool can take corrective action, such as blocking data transfers or notifying the right stakeholders.
  • Compliance: DLP tools help companies maintain compliance with various international regulations (like GDPR, PCI DSS, and HIPAA) that require businesses to protect sensitive data. They provide reporting and auditing capabilities that help demonstrate compliance during audits. 
  • Insider Threat Prevention: DLP solutions can prevent misuse of sensitive information by monitoring user behaviors and identifying suspicious activities or anomalies, helping prevent unintended and malicious insider threats.

Tags:  Cloud Security Data Loss Prevention

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