22 June 2017

Keep your data secure, store it in the cloud

We need to talk about data security — specifically, how to keep your glazing business' information safe and why cloud-based storage is the way to do that.

For some small glazing businesses, "the cloud" is like the boogeyman. They've always stored their data internally, either on individual computers or an on-site server and because they know the location of those items, they feel they are secure. But how diligent are those businesses with cybersecurity?

Are those glazing businesses consistently installing the latest Windows updates? Do they have strict policies in place about how data is stored, accessed and transferred? Are they backing up that data regularly and storing it off-site? If not, there are gaping holes in their data security that need to be addressed.

What is the cloud?

'Cloud storage' refers to data that is stored in an off-site location, usually in a large data center, and accessible to you via the internet.

Chances are, you're using cloud technology in some form or another already. Photos you upload to Facebook, music you stream from Spotify or Apple Music, images backed up automatically from your phone — all are stored in the cloud. It's become standard practice in our everyday life, yet for many businesses there is still hesitation to embrace it.

Check out PC Mag's in-depth article of what cloud computing is and how it works.

How is cloud storage more secure?

If you have a dedicated network administrator with a good knowledge of data security and potential threats, your data might be perfectly fine stored on-site. If you don't, storing your data at a secure location where it is regularly backed up and maintained by professionals is likely to be a safer choice.

For both software companies who provide their service through the cloud and the cloud hosting suppliers, there is a strong incentive to take data security seriously. If they slip up, they lose customers, credibility, and revenue.

Do your bit to protect your data

You aren't absolved of all security responsibility by using cloud technology, you have to ensure that you're taking sensible measures to keep your data safe. We know you're sick of hearing it but it's crucial that you pick complex passwords and use different passwords for different services. Easy-to-guess passwords have been the downfall of many people using cloud-based services and it is entirely avoidable.

Things like your middle name, maiden name, childhood pet, or high school you attended are all easy enough to guess or find out via social media. To be safe, use obscure words as well as a combination of numbers and different case letters.

In summary

People have a tendency to trust their own on-site storage over cloud-based solutions, however this trust can be misplaced. Often operating systems and anti-virus programs aren't updated, files aren't backed up or backups are kept on-site, leaving your business open to risk.

Data storage providers as well as a Software-as-a-Service companies have a vested interested in keeping cloud data safe to protect their reputations and their bottom line. Unless you're being vigilant about internal IT security, cloud computing is likely to be a safer solution for your business.

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