How secure is your cloud software data?
When it comes to safeguarding your business, it’s a smart idea to be aware of all the vulnerabilities in the way you operate – including the technology you use. While cloud software is known for its enhanced security, even this is never without risk.
You may have heard about the recent data centre fire in Strasbourg that damaged hardware that hosts cloud servers. Unfortunately, it caused some businesses without backup plans to lose data permanently. Although this was always a possibility, it was an extremely unlikely eventuality – but it happened.
If your business processes depend on a software provider, there are steps you can take to maximise data protection. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to be aware of when it comes to cloud security.
A recap on how cloud data is stored
Cloud software is delivered over the internet; however, the data is stored in physical locations around the world. Software providers have three main environments to choose from when it comes to hosting their applications:
- Private cloud – Uses a bespoke infrastructure hosted externally or in-house
- Public cloud – Uses an outsourced cloud provider
- Hybrid – Combines the private and public cloud models
In terms of security, each option has unique advantages, however larger organisations generally use private clouds to maintain complete control. In strictly regulated industries like finance, a private cloud is necessary to stay compliant.
Is the cloud safe?
Yes, and even more so than the alternative of on-premise software. However, as with all things, there are always risks involved. When you use a cloud software provider, you’re essentially putting your trust in them to uphold gold-standard IT practices. But not to panic – the UK has some of the most stringent data protection regulations.
The main risks for data integrity include:
- Insider threats
- Human error
- Malicious attacks
- Damage to hardware
- Configuration issues
- Transfer issues
At Codapay, we regularly maintain and review our security practices to ensure nothing slips through the gaps. Our knowledgeable IT experts continually test our disaster recovery plan to ensure it’s ready to activate in the rare event of a threat. If the unexpected were to happen, our customers would be back up within a couple of hours without data loss.
Going back to the example of the data centre fire, businesses with continuity plans were able to activate them and get back up and running. Granted, this was an incredibly uncommon event – but it just goes to show that it’s crucial to always plan for the worst-case scenario.
How can I maximise cloud security?
While your software provider is responsible for safeguarding the system itself, you also play an instrumental part in protecting access to the system.
According to Gartner, “In nearly all cases, it is the user, not the cloud provider, who fails to manage the controls used to protect an organization’s data. CIOs must change their line of questioning from ‘Is the cloud secure?’ to ‘Am I using the cloud securely?’”
Some key steps to optimising security measures include:
- Limit access to only those who need it
- Provide guidance to employees to improve security hygiene
- Put an off-boarding plan in place for employees leaving the business
- Undertake a cybersecurity course to ensure the basic requirements are being met
- Speak to your software provider for their unique recommendations
There are more simple steps you can take to improve your organisation’s cybersecurity which we’ve covered in detail here.
Questions to ask your software provider
As well as reviewing your own security practices, it’s worth finding out how your software providers are ensuring maximum protection.
Below are some key questions you can ask for reassurance that your data is secure.
- What cybersecurity measures are in place to ensure data protection?
- Is the server hosted by a public, private or hybrid environment?
- If public, who is the service provider?
- If private, who is responsible for managing and maintaining the system?
- If hybrid, what parties are involved with the maintenance?
- How often is data backed up?
- Is a recovery plan in place in the event of unexpected threats?
- Are audit logs recorded to show any changes made to data in the system?
Codapay is a cloud-based payroll solution for recruitment agencies, umbrella companies, and payroll bureaus. We’re Cyber Essentials certified and are an APSCo Trusted Partner and Professional Passport Supply Partner, with a UK-based IT and development team who regularly monitor our business continuity procedures. Get a free demo of Codapay today.