Welcome to the FBI of Oregon’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Build a digital defense to protect your cloud. You probably keep a lot in the cloud today. Between preparing for tax season and refinancing the house, you might be sitting on a stack of PDF files, all filled with detailed personal information. Then how secure is your cloud?

Here are some steps you can take right in the cloud to keep your private information as secure as possible.

  • Backups: Make sure you have a well-tested backup plan in place to ensure quick recovery in the event of an attack. So, opt for a hosting package that includes regular backups.
  • Monitor upgrades: Keeping an eye on your cloud hosting provider’s upgrade schedules ensures that no exploits exist for hackers to take advantage of.
  • Take regular inventories of what you keep in the cloud: Whether you store data in the cloud, on your network, or in a filing cabinet, you can’t protect data if you don’t know where it is. This is why up-to-date inventories are essential for data management. As you add data that may need more protection, re-evaluate your security settings and improve them accordingly.
  • Do not store personal information when it is not necessary: When taking this inventory of what you keep in the cloud, resist the temptation to keep data “just because.” Instead, be ruthless in asking the question, “Do we have a legitimate need to store this information?” If the answer is no, throw it away safely. No one can violate what you don’t have.
  • Protect your data: Have the latest versions of the best antivirus, anti-malware and network security technologies in place. Always go with a company that takes their server and network security seriously.

Also, remember to follow basic cyber hygiene rules:

  • Use multi-factor authentication and strong passwords to protect against the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Avoid accessing sensitive data using public networks and devices.
  • Encrypt sensitive data.

If you are the victim of online fraud, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.