As your organization makes the much-needed switch from an on-site to a remote work environment, you might have become aware of a change in priorities. Besides the work processes, it has become essential for you to check how data is stored, protected and accessed on the cloud by a dispersed workforce. More particularly, the focus is on sensitive information such as the company’s financial details, client data, etc.
As per the ITRC data breach analysis, there has been a 17% increase in data breaches in 2021 vs. 2020. With cybersecurity incidents growing at an alarming rate, the average total cost of a breach was $4.24 million in 2021 (Source).
These security breaches hit almost every sector in the last year, so it is essential for you to stay prepared for 2022 and take the necessary steps to protect your clients’ data while working on the cloud.
Here are 11 tips and best practices you should follow:
1. Review confidential information before storing it in the cloud
Before you migrate your company’s sensitive data to the cloud, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with it. Monitor the individual user’s responsibility levels for accessing data hosted on the cloud. Provide them with authorized access credentials to prevent unauthorized data breaches on your dedicated cloud server.
2. Ask about the cloud provider’s defense plans when a breach is detected
You should be aware of the cloud provider’s mitigation and security measure deployment methods when a data breach is detected in the system. Based on their response, it is possible to encrypt data and keep it safe for later use.
3. Identify security gaps
Even when you have chosen to host data and applications on the cloud server, there is a shared responsibility between your organization and the cloud provider. This means that you also need to identify gaps in security measures at your end while the cloud hosting provider does its part too.
4. Benefit from file-level encryption
Even if the cloud solutions include data encryption, you can also double down on your side with the help of comprehensive encryption at the file level. In addition, using an encryption method for your business data before you even host it on the cloud will add another valuable layer of protection.
If you are looking for a simple way to securely communicate and protect your firm’s and clients’ data, then you can trust in TaxDome’s popular tax accounting, cloud-based data platform. At TaxDome, we have 11 layers of security, which makes our tax accounting platform one of the most secure in the industry:
- SSL Report – All interactions on TaxDome are protected by a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) with 2256-bit encryption.
- Data Retention – All data is stored on Amazon AWS and backed-up daily. Also, the physical location of the server is based on your firm’s country location. For example, US firms will have backup servers in the United States, while Canadian clients will have backup servers based in Canada.
- PCI DSS Security – Credit card information is never stored by TaxDome. All credit card transaction information is transmitted directly to payment providers via SSL connections.
- TaxDome Physical Server Security – All physical data security is handled by Amazon’s AWS service.
- GLBA Compliance – TaxDome is compliant with the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GBLA) for the security and confidentiality of client data.
- SSAE-16 SOC Compliance – The TaxDome team regularly audits all TaxDome accounts adhering to the SOC 1 Type 2 and other SSAE-16 standards.
- HITRUST – The HITRUST alliance created a voluntary set of common security guidelines that are intended to adhere to all of the demands of state, federal and international data security standards.
- PIPEDA – PIPEDA is a Canadian data privacy law that provides the framework for how companies in the private sector use, store and disclose their clients’ personal information.
- FIPS – TaxDome is compliant with FIPS, which addresses security standards for federal government computer systems in areas not covered by existing federal laws and regulations.
- Compliance with eIDAS – TaxDome is eIDAS compliant and meets all the requirements for documents to be endorsed by signatories from EU member countries.
- Bug Bounty Program – TaxDome provides rewards for the detection of vulnerabilities. This creates consistent third-party testing.
5. Secure end-user devices
A large number of security breaches occur because of human error. Hence, it is essential to ensure advanced endpoint security for all the devices accessing cloud-based resources. Besides this, careful and constant monitoring of data access will ensure that your employees can only access the data necessary for them to do their jobs.
Fraud protection is a serious business for tax accounting firms. Read more on the 5 ways to protect your clients against tax identity theft.
Another way to make cloud security more stringent is to set strong passwords for authorized cloud access. This will also lead to better compliance on the employee side – which is a common access point for security breaches.
7. Implement two-factor authentication
You can further enhance the security of your cloud-hosted data by enabling two-factor authentication. This process requires the user to enter a password for each login attempt before permitting secure login. While some cloud providers include this benefit in their packages, others may charge extra.
8. Check the data backup frequency.
All the while your business-related data and applications are hosted on the cloud, it is vital to check how frequently your cloud service provider performs a data backup. This can help protect your business against losses in a security breach.
9. Ask about data recovery options.
If the latest data gets compromised, you should know what provisions your cloud service provider offers to recover/restore the lost data. It is preferable to have a service-level agreement which backs up these recovery methods and other facilities.
10. Educate your employees about maintaining data security
All employees who have access to confidential information related to the business should be given data security training, including the do’s and don’ts, password choices and data access protocols. The more they know about it, the better they can be alert to possible sources of security breaches.
11. Select the cloud service provider carefully
Your chosen cloud hosting provider should be a reliable, trusted company with the experience to offer the desired solutions to clients such as yourselves. Furthermore, look for a tailored hosting solution matching your business needs and consider how your requirements may change over time.
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Nowadays, cloud hosting solutions are an integral part of most businesses; they are preferred over traditional onsite IT methods. While there are plenty of benefits on offer for companies, having proper data security protocols is a must.
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