IT Support - Cloud Computing: How safe is your data?

Cloud Computing: How safe is your data?




We covered the topic of cloud computing earlier this year explaining what it entails. In simple terms it's accessing software over the internet using a browser.

One of the disadvantages we highlighted was lack of control over your date and we expand on that topic in this article.

By using cloud computing you are entrusting your data to a third party. You are relying on them to keep it secure, to have robust business continuity in place and of course to ensure the data is accessible to you at all times.

There are two types of cloud computing users. There are those who use free services such as GMail, Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live. These customers have no leverage with the likes of Google or Microsoft.

The other type of user is the one that pays considerably for services such as Messagelabs for email filtering or Salesforce.com for customer relationship management (CRM). These customers have more leverage providing service contracts are written correctly. Even then nothing is guaranteed.

Here are some simple steps to take to secure your data:

1. If you're using a free service such as Google Docs are you regularly saving your work to your computer or network and ensuring it is backed up?

2. Are you storing passwords and logons in a secure place? Ideally not in a notebook called "Passwords"! Make sure you never select the "remember me" option when logging on. If your computer is stolen the thief has immediate access to your data. For support on how to store passwords and user names securely please contact us.

3. Exactly what type of data are you storing on cloud computing services? Carry out a risk assessment on the impact on your business if that data was lost or fell into the wrong hands.

4. If paying for cloud computing services ensure you have a service level agreement (SLA) in place with full details of their security protocols and disaster recovery procedures. It's your data so don't be afraid to ask some 'awkward' questions!

The above is not an exhaustive list so for more information on cloud computing please contact us.

You can easily contact us by email, via our enquiry form or simply call us on 01373 888 333. Posted by Lee Edge on 13/10/2009


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