Many business resist storing a large portion of their corporate data in the cloud. They erroneously believe the security risk is high when, in fact, cloud data storage and management is much safer than storing data on an employee laptop that can be stolen or encrypting data on an internal corporate server. If providers of cloud data storage meet certain criteria, the cloud is the safest place to store sensitive business data.
Before we identify key cloud storage attributes to look for, let’s distinguish between cloud storage and online storage – there are significant differences between the two. Online storage providers simply copy information from your computer and then archive it on their own servers. Cloud storage providers not only back up all your files and other information to the cloud, they also synchronize data across a variety of devices.
Cloud storage is highly beneficial to a geographically distributed organization whose employees may use a variety of devices. Although the services offered by online providers and cloud storage providers are starting to blur, in general, cloud storage provides the data backup and data synchronization large organizations require. Some solid criteria for secure cloud storage include:
- Encryption keys: Data should be secured industry leading encryption techniques. An encryption key should be selected and access to this key should be limited.
- Condition of the equipment: Data storage equipment should be in good condition and properly maintained in a safe building where there is air-conditioning. The data should be backed up and provisions made to deal with an emergency power outage. It’s always valuable to pay a vendor a site visit to examine the equipment and get a sense of the security culture of the vendor. Remember - this is your data that is going to be stored and monitored.
- Data must be available when needed: The data must be readily available to your business twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Organizations open themselves up to revenue loss and other risk factors if they can’t access cloud data on a just-in-time basis. For example if customer credit card information stored in the cloud cannot be retrieved immediately, customers might perceive the data they volunteer isn’t completely safe or secure.
- Know the location of where the data is stored: Different countries and regions have different laws regarding data storage and accessibility. Know where the data is being stored in order to determine what entities may be able to access the stored data.
- Physical security of the facility is important: Check on security of the actual physical location where the storage takes place. Centers that store data should have continuous round-the-clock staff physically present at the data center.
- Disaster ready facility: The same risks to storing data in the office are risks to storing in the cloud. The storage facility may be subject to disasters like earthquakes, floods or fires. Data storage providers must have detection devices in place and regularly practice disaster preparedness drills.
According to one CEO of a provider of online storage, the best way to trust that your online storage is secure is to work with a reputable provider. Then, be sure that passwords are difficult for others to discover. Also, make certain that all technological devices with internet access are secure. At Chrome River our clients can rest assured that our cloud-based expesen report software will keep their data safe and secure.
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