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Securing Cloud File Sharing

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Transferring large files over the internet have always been a problem. Even at a personal level, one quite frequently needs to send files larger than the usual 20 MB emailing limit. Situations are worse at the enterprise level. With the current security concerns, the good-old FTP isn’t feasible. With the cloud revolution at the precipice, the solution to the problem is obvious – store files on the cloud and share them with the concerned users. However, when cloud technology is still nascent, is it ready to do some real heavy lifting?

Securing Cloud File Sharing  Securing Cloud File Sharing

Is cloud ready for Enterprise use?

The question hints at the unease that revolves around handing over the things to the cloud. In the early days of cloud computing, everyone was uncomfortable with the idea of storing all of the data on a 3rd party server. It was pointed out that, along with the usual security concerns regarding OS vulnerabilities and server penetration, cloud architecture creates some problems of its own. Compromise of the virtualisation software can lead to massive security breaches, not to mention data thefts due improper de-allocation of memory and the overall physical security of the public cloud servers. These threats had equal pertinence for cloud computing and cloud storage. Storing sensitive files, let alone sharing, on cloud, had sizeable vulnerabilities in the past.

Like all technology, with time, Cloud has evolved. Past concerns have become more about paranoia than actual threats. Cloud technology is the best solution available for secured file sharing.

Securing Cloud Sharing for Enterprise

Enterprise-grade cloud sharing services should combine the best of FTP and the usual cloud sharing services – accessibility of cloud and role based privileges of FTP. To ensure that data is accessed in the way it is intended to, there has to be a separation between the data and the operations that manipulate [download/upload] it. Security can be increased manifold by giving DBMS-like privileges to specified users and by maintaining detailed activity log. These features should be in-built in enterprise-grade cloud sharing services.

Physical access to the cloud servers should be restricted. Even if it is very difficult to pin-point the target server, it is still a dangerous threat. That’s about the deterrent controls. In the event of an attack, there should be preventative measures too. Mitigating vulnerabilities is probably more important that deterring active attacks. Setting up counters for unusual activities and multilevel vault-like data masking are some probable measures in this front. And finally, the recovery measures form the third tier of the cloud file-sharing security. In some cases, it is worse to lose data than the theft itself.

Data security has always been a concern and cloud file sharing isn’t immune to it. Cloud technology has come a long way from being a curious experiment. As technology and practices have evolved, reliability of cloud technology has increased. The development slope is positive, and in the near future, as many experts predict, the cloud would take care of almost all of our technological demands.

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