As cloud storage grows in adoption, both among businesses and for personal users, the discussion of security becomes increasingly vital.

It’s clear that many users desire better cloud security knowledge. A recent survey by Clutch found that, when asked what they think is the best means of improving cloud security, 40% of cloud-based app users said “better user knowledge.”

With this data in mind, here are a few simple steps that can help a user of any experience level build their cloud security knowledge – and potentially save their data from being compromised.

1. Understand that cloud security is a two-way street.

The same survey by Clutch also found that the largest percentage of respondents (42%) believe that the responsibility for cloud security falls equally on the user’s and cloud provider’s shoulders.

This is significant and something that every cloud user – not just 42% – should understand. A cloud provider’s best security measures will easily fail if you forgo simple proactive behaviors, such as changing your password every so often or learning how to spot a spear phishing attempt to steal your login information.

Take responsibility for your cloud’s security. Compromised data is more likely to be your fault, not the provider’s.

2. Read up on your provider’s security measures.

It’s important to understand what security features are already available.

Check to see if your provider offers a “trust center” of sorts. For example, Dropbox Business’ Trust Guide goes into further detail on the service’s security, compliance, and privacy.

Some instances where this resource might be helpful:

  • If you are a small business using your cloud storage for customer payment information, it’s crucial to check if your provider is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, or you could be subject to a hefty penalty fine.
  • You’ll be able to check if your provider offers simple additional security features to turn on, such as two-factor authentication. Enabling this feature means that anyone trying to access your data will need to enter a secure pin, usually texted to your phone upon request.

3. Explore lesser known options for securing your data.

Perhaps you need to store highly sensitive information, or are simply paranoid, given the headlines that cloud storage hacks have generated in the past few years. Either way, there are more options than the average cloud storage user likely knows about.

For example, zero-knowledge cloud storage providers are gaining popularity. These providers assure privacy by encrypting data entirely on the client side. This means that there is no way for the provider to access your data, even though they are storing it.

Examples of this type of provider include SpiderOak and Tresorit.

Another option is to encrypt the data yourself before uploading to the cloud. There are tools to help facilitate this, including Boxcryptor and Cryptomator.

By encrypting your data beforehand, you ensure that even if the data is compromised, it will read as a meaningless string of nonsense to the hacker.

Don’t Neglect Cloud Security

It’s important to keep your data safe in the cloud – even more so if it involves sensitive data. Yet, many everyday users may feel overwhelmed by the cloud and neglect to investigate more about security features and options.

This ignorance regarding cloud security is dangerous. Knowledge is the most powerful weapon to arm yourself with when it comes to security.

To start expanding your cloud security knowledge, you should…

  1. Understand that cloud security is a two-way street.
  2. Read up on your provider’s security measures.
  3. Explore lesser known options for securing your data.

A wealth of actions exist for learning and doing more about cloud security. However, these are three good places to start.