Best Practices for Data Protection in Securing Cloud-Based Business Systems

Adopting cloud-based systems is now a norm for almost every new business. But as this adoption rises, so does the complexity of cloud environments. Multi-cloud and hybrid environments have risen in popularity and as well multiplied the data security needs of organizations.

What are the best data protection practices for this new wave of trends in cloud-based business solutions? Of course, practices cannot solve all; you also need people, you need technology, and you need tools. However, a right understanding of what the standards should be is a good starting point for more secure cloud data storage. Read on to find out more.

Cloud Data Protection Best Practices

1. Built-in Security

Perhaps the first and most important step in cloud data protection is ensuring that you can trust the built-in security controls in the solutions you use. This means carefully reviewing the vendor’s security practices and activities through a comprehensive audit and assessment.

Also, your cloud security solution provider must have achieved industry-recognized certifications and standards, in order to grant you the assurance that they take customer data seriously.

This doesn’t apply to security solutions only, though. It also applies to all cloud solutions you use as a business, especially the ones that interface with customer data. A cloud service provider must be able to prove that it understands its own risks.

2. Strong Endpoint Protection

Each year, technology advances, and so does the attack surfaces of many businesses with it. The rapid multiplicity of endpoints is one of the biggest challenges to data security today and several devices that access business networks are unprotected, leaving an attack loophole open to malicious actors.

It is certainly concerning that the younger generation of employees is far less concerned about the cybersecurity protection on their work devices. And this is not for lack of knowledge or awareness about appropriate security protocols and practices. Organizations must take the responsibility of endpoint protection upon themselves.

User policies are no longer as reliable as they were once thought to be as phishing and social engineering have become more sophisticated. To prevent data loss, the problem of shadow IT must be solved with visibility solutions so organizations can take back control as they automate data breach detection and response.

3. Shared Responsibility

Part of why securing data on the cloud is complex is that there are at least two parties playing major, collaborative roles: the vendor and the client. Hence, there has to be some kind of shared responsibility model to go. Where there is a mismatch of responsibilities or miscommunication, breaches occur and attackers feast.

Therefore, it’s important to always clarify responsibilities between the vendor and the client. More so, this varies depending on the service you use and various other factors. This is why there must be a proper service level agreement that specifies the duties of each party and how responsibilities would be assigned.

For instance, on-premises data centers are characterized by assigning all responsibilities to the client. IaaS and PaaS cede some more responsibility to the vendor while SaaS is the model that most frees the client of responsibility. However, regardless of the model, as the client, you’ll always have some responsibility to handle.

4. Business Continuity

Due to the nature of today’s cloud environments, data breaches may be considered inevitable. Every business is certain to experience one threat or the other, it’s only a matter of when and how it will occur. So, part of protecting data is putting plans in place just in case a breach occurs.

The synergy between business continuity and data protection is critical on many levels. For one, if there is a breach, there needs to be a backup storage infrastructure that can be utilized temporarily or even long-term in order to keep things running while fighting the breach.

So, business continuity is also tied to data recovery. Having plans in place allows you to prepare for unprecedented events and develop the right mitigating solutions ahead of the occurrence of issues. So, businesses should adopt a model of continuous data protection.

5. Comprehensive Documentation

As cloud environments get even more complex, businesses can no longer afford to overlook the importance of documentation in cloud data security. Besides the fact that it is important for ensuring compliance with data protection laws and regulations, the lack of it can lead to serious data breaches and other security threats.

Cloud providers typically provide extensive documentation on their security practices that help businesses understand how their data is being protected. Such documentation also gives insights into the client’s own responsibilities when it comes to cloud data protection.

Beyond that, client businesses must also ensure that they document their own security processes, policies, procedures, configurations, and incident response plans. This documentation then provides a reference for implementing security controls, training employees, conducting audits, and further activities.

6. Stakeholder Communication

When you hold data that belongs to or identifies other people, it’s only crucial that those people are aware of the risks of storing their data with your service and what steps you take to secure their data. This builds trust and transparency, and it also shields your business from some (but not all) liability when there is a breach.

Beyond that, stakeholder communication is particularly critical in crisis management and incident response. Businesses should strive to provide timely and accurate information about any incident to users, investors, partners, affiliates, etc. Of course, the amount of information that should be communicated will vary.

To that end, there must be a balance between transparency and security. Being open about data protection activities also increases the pressure on you to make do with your promises of security. And if that doesn’t do it, then the fear of litigation should worry you. The GDPR, CCPA, and other data protection regulations mandate such openness, yet many consumers still don’t understand how data protection works.


Data protection is a complex and ever-changing field. However, by following the best practices outlined in this article, businesses can significantly reduce their risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

It is important to remember that data protection is not just about technology. It also requires a strong commitment from management and employees alike in order to implement these practices successfully.

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