Cloud computing offers companies an unprecedented level of data flexibility and efficiency. However, as with any new piece of technology, there are certain risks that need to be understood and respected. The most obvious risk, of course, is the possibility of data loss or theft. Other potential risks and challenges include misunderstanding the terms and conditions of how data is handled, managing authentication and access, data control, and privacy or data residency regulation compliance. The good news is that there are ways to overcome these types of security concerns in order to get all the benefits of cloud communications.
Look for Openness
One of the more basic-level steps that can be taken is to work with a cloud service that is open about the standards and practices it uses. This way, you can check to be sure that it will be acting in compliance with industry standards and regulations. In a similar vein, the terms and conditions of your cloud service need to be open and clearly defined and understandable. This is so you can compare your company's policies on data treatment to the terms and make sure there are no contradictions or conflicts.
Many of your employees will likely end up having access to your cloud, but few will have reason to see or access all the data that gets stored. Be clear about who is to be provided access to what information and, more importantly, who is not. Develop a standardized process for requesting access to certain data. Establish a consistent method for identifying which pieces of data are sensitive, subject to regulation, or proprietary, and take measures to make sure they don't mix with other content. It is also important to define which types of devices are able to access the cloud. Sure, you can let employees access cloud telephony from their smartphones, but you should probably block them from accessing things like customer information on those same devices.
Certain types of customer information are subject to data residency restrictions—there is a geographic jurisdiction in which the data needs to be stored. Be aware of any such restrictions your company is subject to. This data can still be stored in the cloud, but only if it is in a section that falls within the required jurisdiction. You will need to coordinate with your cloud provider to learn if this is possible.
Monitor Network Activity
Even if your cloud provider offers monitoring services and logs, it is still ultimately your responsibility to protect your data. Monitor and log network activity and assess it regularly for any unusual behaviors or patterns. About 70% of security breaches have some sort of insider component so this type of vigilance can be key. It’s also a good idea to regularly test your network for security vulnerabilities.
Encrypting your valuable data, up to the point of use if necessary, is an essential part of security. Ideally, you should have a platform in place that will scramble and encode data before it is transferred to the cloud. Encryption keys need to remain under your sole control and ownership and should not be stored in the same software as the data it is meant to protect.
Back It Up
Employ backups, ideally multiple backups that can be isolated so you can quickly recover if data is stolen or damaged. Backups are a common-sense security measure that you should be employing even without using the cloud, since they can ensure continuity of business under any number of circumstances.
All the security measures in the world won't be effective if your employees do not understand them. Take the time to educate people on security policy regarding cloud computing and communications. Pay particular attention to any common workplace habits that may go against your data security measures and devise ways to deter such behaviors.
Get Top-Tier Results with High Tech Communications
High Tech Communications, based in Aurora, has partnered with several best-of-breed cloud service providers to bring top-tier cloud services to you. In addition to cloud telephony, we offer a number of high-end communications and data solutions (on site and cloud) that can benefit a host of GTA. sectors such as education, health care, hospitality, and call centres. Our integrated network partnerships allow us to offer dedicated communications support across regional, national, and even international accounts.
For more information on cloud communications services, please feel free to contact us toll-free at 1-800-853-2335.