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7 Tips to keep your data secure in the cloud

Technology has changed the way businesses operate. It’s enabling them to be more agile, grow quicker and allowing employees to work seamlessly anytime, anywhere whilst keeping data secure in the cloud.

Despite numerous headline stories relating to serious data breaches by large organisations, there can sometimes be a sense that businesses are in denial, that this kind of attack won’t happen to them. Alternatively, in this fast-moving cyber-security landscape, businesses are unsure of the best course of action to take to protect their data.

One thing that is certain is that the statistics relating to cyber attacks and crimes are ever increasing.

So, what steps can your business take to ensure it’s keeping its data as safe as possible in the cloud?

#Tip 1 – Work with a cloud provider that understands your business

Every business is different so it’s important that when choosing a cloud provider they demonstrate that they understand the needs of your organisation and the requirements that you have for your data.

For example, you may have to adhere to certain regulatory requirements. Can the provider ensure you will be compliant? Make sure your provider has the appropriate industry accreditations and certifications to back up their claims. Also understanding the types of organisations they are currently working with provides a good indicator of who’s already putting their trust in their capabilities.

And finally – it can be painful but it’s essential! Go through contracts and SLA’s with a fine-tooth comb to ensure you fully understand the service that you’re signing up for.

#Tip 2 – Assess what data you have and the level of protection required

It’s important to review the types of data that your organisation holds, some data will be more sensitive than others and will therefore require different levels of security to be applied. For example, some data should only be accessed by certain employees and so on.

In the first instance, encryption will form the backbone to securing your files, ensuring files are protected before they are saved to the cloud. You can also partner with a cloud provider that offers Software as a Service (SaaS) this will manage the encryption and decryption of files for you.

You can then also explore more sophisticated security tools such as credential management for limited access to more sensitive data.

It’s also important to keep in mind that data has different states, data in transit, data at rest and data in use – make sure that you’re taking measures to protect your data appropriately in all states.

#Tip 3 – Do you know your internal security weak points?

It’s important to assess what your data access points are across your business – here’s some examples you’ll want to consider:

  • User accounts
  • Web applications
  • Cloud storage accounts
  • Cloud storage applications
  • Email accounts
  • Remote access function
  • End devices

Making a full list of where and how your company’s data can be accessed, and whether these locations are covered by your security processes will quickly reveal any glaring omissions in your current security processes.

Once you’re aware of all the potential access points throughout your business, it’s time to ensure that there’s a security system in place – whether that’s something as simple as enabling two-factor authentication for critical user accounts or implementing a fully functional secure firewall.

#Tip 5 – Does the business still require a firewall?

We’ve just alluded to this in the point above and the answer is yes! Mobile and remote working, employees connecting to wifi hotspots and BYOD policies are blurring the lines of the network perimeter.

This is where a next generation firewalls come into play – designed to protect your cloud environments (public, private and hybrid), your network perimeter and internet access. An example of a next generation firewall, Touch Secure, can be found here.

#Tip 6 – Educate your employees

All employees need to play their part to plug any potential security gaps you have identified. It’s important to educate the business so they understand the role they play in keeping data secure. Information will empower them to be vigilant of any incoming security threats, such as malicious emails or suspicious content.

Also be clear on what action people need to take, who do they report to if they come across a suspected security breach? Remember to make company policies around data and security readily available to avoid any discrepancies over what is expected from employees.

#Tip 7 – Are you disaster ready?

Can you imagine getting to work to find you were unable to access any data or business applications? Your organisation would come to a complete standstill – in fact periods of severe down time can destroy a business.

So if your cloud provider’s data centre burns to the ground or gets struck by an earth quake, what happens next? You need to know what their back-up plans are to ensure seamless business continuity.

Working with a cloud provider that has multiple points of presence gives you peace of mind that if disaster does strike your data is safe and business can continue uninterrupted.

If you’re business wants more information on developing and implementing plans to keep your data secure in the cloud – download our cloud kick-start guide.

Up next

3 useful tips to consider when choosing a mobile supplier

In the modern age, mobiles are now an absolute necessity. Your workforce relies on instant communication between staff, suppliers and customers from all over the world. That means that choosing a mobile supplier who’s reliable, trustworthy and (importantly) cost effective is critical.

It could also be a quick win for you and the business. Imagine being the company hero who saves £hundreds per handset whilst also reducing the contract period at the same time? It’s possible. There are many bad eggs in the world of mobile, sure. You probably know a few already, but there are some good ones out there too.

That’s why I’ve used my years of experience dealing with mobile suppliers from every corner of the country, to pull together this quick list of useful supplier tips. Make sure you make the right choice before getting locked into your next contract…

How do you measure the level of customer-service you need?

Many B2B mobile companies will argue that their customer service is the ‘best in the industry’, therefore it can be a struggle to identify who really does lead the way. Sometimes checking the latest 1-star trustpilot reviews can be helpful, but that doesn’t directly translate when we consider B2B…

There are, however, a few useful ways in which you can discover who will give you the best customer service.

  1. Ask them for their NPS score; this is a rating between 1 – 10 each customer gives their mobile phone provider. If they do not take part in NPS ratings, then they may not value the customer service.
  2. Ask what you will receive in terms of account management; many mobile suppliers will not provide any account management services, meaning if you have an urgent query it could take days to get a response. The main requirements of account management are quarterly account reviews with usage analysis, direct contact methods into your account manager and regular account updates. The major networks will only give this level of service to enterprise size businesses.
  3. How does their customer service operate? Most people have found themselves waiting in a 10-minute phone queue before someone answers, and even then, they will redirect your call. In the B2B world you need queries dealt with quickly. Ask if their customer service has a direct line, or if they have a several rings policy before someone answers.

Are they a mobile reseller or an ISP?

The main difference between an Independent Service Provider and a reseller is flexibility, agility, commercials, billing and the freedom to control tariffs. A mobile reseller simply resells Vodafone, O2 and EE tariffs. This means it is very difficult to change tariffs mid contract. If you have any account queries then it will be passed on to the network; this effectively means they are a middle man. It is important to ask if they are an ISP or mobile reseller at the beginning of the conversation.

An ISP will be able to work with you to create the most efficient, bespoke, tariff to fit your companies needs based on your overall usage; they also have the flexibility to make changes to your tariff throughout the contract by increasing data, equipment funds and increasing connections. There will be no middle men and therefore all account queries will be dealt with directly by the ISP with full autonomy over the network.

The beauty of working with an ISP is that you can expect better care than with the major networks whilst having a more cost effective tariff.

Are they being honest?

This is a major thing that can easily be overlooked when in discussions over the contract. There are ways in which mobile providers can create a deal that ‘looks too good to be true’ and here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Check the notice period! The industry standard notice period is 30 days. There are mobile providers who have a 90 or even 120-day notice period meaning you are effectively signing a 27+ month contract when signing a 24 month contract, which leaves you paying more over the contract length even if there is a slightly reduced monthly line rental.
  2. If you are talking equipment, is it refurbished or from a registered supplier? You could be sold a refurbished phones, which won’t have warranty.
  3. Does the company have a customer service team, or account managers? There are several mobile resellers out there who will sign you up at a low price and then disappear completely. This is because they get paid to sell mobiles but not to provide the service. So be clear on asking about how their company is run
  4. Ensure all contract end dates are the same in the T&Cs – some mobile providers will extend the contract length of one device and put the bulk of the line rental onto this single device. This means if you were looking to leave after 24 months, you could be hit with a large termination fee.

Sometimes the lowest price may not mean you receive the best service and can result in a bad experience. If you use the tips above and do your due diligence around the contract terms, you will end up with a strong, lasting and reliable supplier.

If you need any advice or a mobile proposal, then please contact me directly by filling in the form here.