Securing your business data in the cloud

Sage Canada's Paul Struthers offers several ways that businesses can protect themselves while putting their data and applications in the cloud.

Being able to run day-to-day operations in the cloud is quickly becoming an essential asset for businesses in Canada. According to a recent survey from Telecom company Primus, about 46 per cent of Canadian small businesses are already using at least one cloud service. Of those companies, 86 per cent reported they had improved their business processes.

Despite this, the IDC Cloud Adoption Global Benchmark found that—while progressive in the shift of applications and systems to the cloud—the Canadian business landscape “falls behind in the dollars companies are investing in cloud computing” compared to businesses in other parts of the world. The number one reason IDC found that Canadian companies are hesitant to invest more in the cloud? Security.

Fortunately, there are many ways for businesses to protect themselves while putting their data and applications in the cloud. Here are three main ways that businesses can protect their data, while still taking full advantage of all that cloud technology has to offer.

  1. Ensure data is encrypted, and make regular backups just in case.

In the event that hackers gain access to an organization’s data within the cloud, it is extremely important to prevent them from making use of the data in any way. According to the Cloud Standards Customer Council, businesses need to encrypt sensitive data, both when it is stored and also when it is in transit across a network. In addition, businesses need to consider where they are storing their encryption keys.

  1. Make sure employees can only access specific data, and that they practice password hygiene.

Businesses should only give employees and third-party vendors access to the data they need to do their jobs. By limiting the number of people that can access the most important data, businesses can prevent hackers from gaining extra attack vectors. In addition, businesses need to educate staffers and vendors on the importance of developing appropriately strong passwords.

  1. Prevent employees and staff from moving data into their own clouds.

As a business grows and scales, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that its resources can keep up with its IT and staffing needs. According to the Cloud Standards Customer Council, it is crucial for organizations to ensure their staff members are not relying upon shadow IT to get their jobs done.

With shadow IT, employees use third-party cloud services to build their own IT solutions, without getting approval from their IT department. Businesses should provide their employees with the best possible cloud services, so they won’t be tempted to use other options and unwittingly expose valuable data to the risk of an attack.

Our customers’ security is of the utmost importance to us at Sage, which is why—as ChannelBuzz’s own Mark Cox reported—we recently unveiled Sage Business Cloud. Sage Business Cloud was built to respond to the demands of modern companies and to become the one and only secure cloud business management solution they will ever need to support their business journey.

How so? This powerful set of cloud products is designed to help businesses of all sizes with everything from money to people, while also allowing them to upgrade and pick additional products they may need as they grow and scale, such as industry-specific enterprise management software. Furthermore, customers can join the platform at any stage of their business journey, allowing them to keep pace as their needs evolve.

Being at the forefront of technology when running a business doesn’t need to be scary – instead it should be viewed as a driver of growth and business enablement. The more mundane tasks we automate the more we increase productivity, particularly when the solution is flexible enough to allow organizations to grow and scale with it.

 

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