The number of cloud users – both corporate and personal – increases dramatically each year. And as these numbers grow, so do the security threats. Cybercriminals realize that many of these cloud providers aren’t as safe as believed and will target this vulnerable data. As a business owner or IT professional, you need to take a long look at security before trusting your data to the cloud.

Growth of the Cloud

Last year, only eight percent of the $1.6 trillion in IT spending was spent on cloud solutions. In 2016, the cloud will make up 60 percent of all IT spending growth. By 2018, that number will balloon to a decisive 100 percent.

In other words, cloud computing is growing at maximum capacity. And it’s not just a trend happening at home. Cloud technology is growing across all demographics and countries. From the Middle East and Africa to Brazil and Russia, cloud technology is planting roots in every region of the world.

4 Cloud Security Tips for 2016

Keeping the rapid growth of this technology in the back of your mind, let’s take a look at some of the top security tips you can implement this year to best protect your data and enhance the safety of end users.

1.      Invest in the Right Resources

In the coming months, it’ll become apparent that security is directly tied to the partners a business aligns itself with. In other words, if you choose to work with data solution providers that don’t offer enhanced security measures, you’ll be exposed to higher rates of risk. On the other hand, if you’re selective with who you interact with, you’ll be able to protect your data.

For example, many business intelligence tools are now moving all or part of their platforms to cloud-based data security warehouses. If you’re going to work with one of these companies, you need to make sure you understand where and how your data is being stored.

2.      Carefully Read User Agreements with Providers

Before signing anything with cloud storage providers, you must carefully read user agreements and ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If you aren’t sure of what a particular statement means, ask for clarification.

These user agreements are usually very boring – and can be incredibly long – but avoid the temptation to gloss over the fine print. If you sign an agreement, you’ll be held to it. This can be detrimental if you’re ever confronted with a security threat and the liability is pushed onto your company.

3.      Increase Password Complexity

It may seem like a very minor detail, but password integrity is actually quite important. Why, you may ask? Well, consider that 90 percent of all passwords can be cracked within a matter of seconds.

If your passwords are too simple or generic, they’re just a click or two away from being hacked. In order to cut down on this risk, it’s wise to establish very specific rules for password creation.

4.      Use an Encrypted Service

Before putting any data in the cloud, you need to encrypt it. Thank of this step as adding an additional security layer to your data. Hopefully you’ll never need your data to be encrypted, but in case you do, you have measures in place to prevent a breach.  

Get Serious About Cloud Security

This year represents a critical point of no return for the cloud industry. As growth balloons to unprecedented heights, it’ll become critically important for businesses of all sizes to invest in cloud security like never before. This means keeping the previously mentioned tips in mind and continually surveying opportunities to establish additional safety nets. As threats increase over the course of the next few months, you’ll be glad you spent some extra time and energy reevaluating your security protocols.