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Staying safe in the cloud: data leaks and the importance of staff training

20 Mar 2020
Author: Phoebe

Cloud software has revolutionised the way that we do business. Online storage has streamlined office computers that were once bogged down with endless files. And collaborative workspace tools have allowed us to bounce ideas around with our colleagues in real-time, even if they happen to be on the other side of an ocean.

The cloud has shrunk the working world down to a manageable size, whilst showcasing the formidable power of teamwork. So what’s the catch? 

Every cloud…comes with a risk

We tend to think of data loss as something caused by malicious actions such as hacking or theft. But cloud software raises a more benign, but no less dangerous threat; simple human error. With cloud software, data is purposefully much more accessible – that’s one of the big benefits.

But accessible to who? Visibility is governed by privacy settings which, at some level, users control. This means that an honest mistake can lead to a huge inadvertent data breach.

These risks were brought into sharp focus earlier this year. A multinational office space provider, Regus, accidentally (via a third party) published the results of over 900 confidential employee evaluations on the project management tool Trello. It made the data publicly accessible with nothing more than a Google search.

Although the information, which included employees’ names and home addresses, was removed as soon as the leak was discovered, the damage to the company’s reputation was already done.

Incidents like this are common. In 2018, the British and Canadian governments accidentally published highly confidential anti-terrorism plans on an online workspace, proving that no institution is immune to the perils of human error.

Training is the best protection

When confronted with horror stories about data loss in the cloud, it can be tempting to think that the whole thing is more trouble than it’s worth. This is a huge mistake though. The benefits of cloud software greatly outweigh the drawbacks and, like it or not, the technology is here to stay. You don’t have to stay out of the cloud – you just have to learn to avoid the rain. And the key to this is proper staff training.

It is every manager’s responsibility to ensure that they are fully acquainted with the ins and outs of cloud software, paying particular attention to potential security risks. All staff need to be thoroughly trained, again with a focus on security. The common errors that lead to data breaches should be flagged up and used as teaching aids, and records should be kept of all training sessions. If anyone misses the training, it is vital that they be given a catch-up session when they return to work.

Call the experts

With technology changing all the time, staying safe online is an ongoing process. Cloud safety should be part of broader cybersecurity training, along with things like best practices for password choice and phishing awareness.

That’s where we can help… Nebula offers specific security training for users of Microsoft Office 365 and can also provide a full cybersecurity assessment for your business, helping you to tighten up any weak spots before disaster strikes. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Give us a call on  01454 534 009 or email to arrange a consultation.

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