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Tips for Taking Your Business to the Cloud while Keeping your Customer Data Safe

By Nabeel Khalid

Cloud is the urgent business imperative. For any business that wants to modernise and scale up, it is time to embrace innovation and accelerate growth.

This will mean different things for different businesses, but one thing is likely to remain a constant – the safety and security of your customers (and the data you hold for them).

Here are some tips that can help you understand some of the basic yet important changes you will need to adapt to, in order to migrate your business to the cloud successfully:

  • Use A Password Manager

Yes, having a good password with capital letters, small letters, numerals and a special character works well. But how many of you have your first child’s name, year of birth and an exclamation point as a password? I’m afraid that may not be good enough and anything more complicated than that will require the use of a password manager to remember it for you. After all, even if you make a silly rhyme to remember your password, you or your colleagues might fall victim to keeping the same password for each website they use.

Instead – the solution is quite simple – use a password manager. You can use Apple or Google, or you can use something more advanced. Just make sure the one you recommend to your team allows for multiple devices so they keep the same password manager on their computers as well as their mobile devices.

  • Archive Your Data

Your business data is not immune to overwriting, deletion or other user errors. Even if you have backups implemented such errors can occur. Companies make losses when IT storage failures occur but you might be surprised to learn that 63% of these are attributed to human error.

If data is an integral part of your business, an archiving solution can help you reverse such simple failures. There are technical solutions in the market that can be configured to store your files securely in an archive. Previous versions of yours files can still be made available in case they are needed. But if not, at least your data isn’t lying around collecting dust and being vulnerable to a data breach.

Every week we hear of a new data breach. New research from the Ponemon Institute and SecureLink found that more than half of businesses (51%) have suffered a data breach that was caused by a third party.

  • Make a synthetic copy of your data for sharing

Every week we hear of a new data breach. New research from the Ponemon Institute and SecureLink published only yesterday found that more than half of businesses (51%) have suffered a data breach that was caused by a third party. Apart from exposing their networks to both security, and non-compliance risks, sharing your data with third parties is a scary business in 2021.

Perhaps you need to take a step back and ask yourself what you need from your data when you share it with a third party. If it is collecting business insights, or any kind of data analysis, you can use synthetic data to achieve the same results. Synthetic data helps overcome privacy risks and compliance boundaries that slow down cross-organisational collaboration and innovation.

You can create synthetic versions of data to move to the cloud which will increase your ability to share data across silos, departments and geographical boundaries, and open the doors of innovation because now you can test on realistic data before you go live.

  • Implement Multi Factor Authentication

In every typical organisation, access to data can be limited to a set number of devices, including staff laptops, tables, office PCs and phones. In theory, any device that requests information from your systems can be flagged and investigated manually to verify if the request is legitimate. But checking each request is a laborious task, so why not implement multi-factor authentication?

Multi-factor authentication requires staff to provide additional credentials when logging into any company portal or system that they use for work. This usually takes the form of a password or passcode that is sent to a secondary device when using a remote or unrecognised location. Typically this is a numeric code that you receive as an SMS, but there are authenticator apps that generate these codes as well, which are better for companies where staff travel frequently.

You might want to consider complete identity management systems if you run a large business, but for a typical SME, just enabling 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) across the board would be a great security measure.

  • Choose Your Cloud Carefully

As you move your business to the cloud, it is important to consider the level of encryption and security that your business requires. If cloud storage is free, ask yourself what would it cost you if the level of encryption on this free tier fails you. It is often better to pay for an extra layer of encryption.

In the end, you want to protect your customers from identity theft and your own business records from corporate espionage. And while moving to the cloud might sound scary, you will be surprised to find out how much more control you have over your data once you complete the move.

Conclusion

Everyone knows the cloud is the place to be because it offers greater flexibility, more agility and new opportunities for innovation. This is why more than 90 percent of today’s enterprises have already migrated to the cloud in some form.

Most businesses only have about 20% to 40% of their workloads in the cloud. Typically these are the simpler ones. If you want to migrate your core to the cloud and soar, you have to wake up to the importance of systems resilience, agility, scalability and adaptability of the cloud.

But you must do so in a secure manner, while protecting the data you hold for your customers.

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