The cloud is undoubtedly the future of data storage and function. Not long ago, every computer program had to be installed onto each individual PC. All the data generated by this software was also kept on the individual computer. However, as our internet access and speed has increased, these processes have changed. It is now commonplace for programs, and the data they create, to be stored on remote servers.
This centralisation of applications and data storage to a remote server is a big change. And it’s come about quite quickly. IBM recently approximated that 90% of all digital data ever created was made in the last two years. The large majority of this data is stored online.
Across the globe businesses are relocating their data to the cloud. There are many benefits to doing so, as we will explain. We will also address issues of cloud software security, and offer tips to keep your data safe!
Benefits of the cloud
Reduced IT costs and a better experience
Software frequently needs to be upgraded, and data backed-up. Running applications through the cloud generally means they will update and back-up automatically! Not only is this convenient, but you will never be caught out with outdated programs or unsaved data. Furthermore, cloud software is typically run on monthly pay subscriptions, meaning there is no one large expense. Plus, there’s the added peace of mind that IT professionals are managing your data, not inexperienced in-house administrative staff.
Your software will update faster
Cloud software itself has become a booming industry. As a result, updates and bug fixes are implemented very regularly. Hence, you will always be running on the latest – and safest – software.
You can access your data anywhere, anytime
Perhaps one of the biggest bonuses of cloud software is its accessibility. As long as you can connect to the internet, you can access all of your programs and data with a simple login. You’re no longer restricted to one computer to do you work. Instead, increased work efficiency can be achieved by working from home, or when on the road. Most programs don’t even require a PC – a smartphone will do!
Easy data recovery in emergency situations
In the case of an emergency situation in your office – such as a loss of power, flood, fire, or robbery – the security of data stored only on each PC is very low. However, if all of your programs and data are saved onto the cloud, it is very easy to re-download them onto replacement computers and devices.
Easier data sharing and cross-program compatibility
Cloud systems are typically compatible with one another, meaning you can easily share data between them. For example, your existing point-of-sale software could be integrated with new payroll software. Or you can choose certain cloud software with multi-capability. Roubler, for example, is a human resources cloud software. Roubler caters for the entire employment life-cycle from recruitment through to payroll, with all data accessible via the cloud 24/7.
How does cloud software work?
A common query about cloud software security is how data is actually stored. Typically, your data is kept in secure servers in large data centres. These data centres are managed 24/7 by IT professionals.
Data is transmitted between your computer and the secure data centre using encrypted connections. Because the data is encrypted both when it is being sent and when it is being received, no third parties can intercept and download your data.
Cloud software companies specialise in such processes. As a result, the connection is very secure and data privacy is taken extremely seriously.
Cloud software security – 5 top tips to keep your data secure
Cloud software security isn’t just about the actual software. Although cloud software companies take data safety seriously, there are some steps that you should take on your end to ensure optimal data security. Hacking can very easily be the fault of an individual employee – not the software. So here are 5 top tips to keep your data secure.
Passwords should be secret and safe
It’s the oldest trick in the book, but password security really is that important. Family and pet names, as well as birthdays, are very easy to guess. Avoid these! Short passwords are easier to guess, so make your password as long as you can remember. Generally, the best passwords are long, unrelated to your life, and random. It’s smart to mix up your passwords for each cloud software. You can also use a paraphrase, which is usually around 20 to 30 characters long.
Multi-factor authentication should be activated
Some cloud software solutions offers further authentication factors in addition to a username and password. The extra authentication could be a unique code sent to your email or phone, a voice call verification, or even a finger print. This adds an extra layer of security to your data. In the case that a hacker works out your password, there will be an extra step required before they can access your data.
Monitor logins and online activity
If you’re using a cloud software that allows you to view how the system is being used, take advantage. Regularly monitoring who is logging on where makes it easier to detect when an unknown user has attempted to access your data. If you note anything suspicious, contact the relevant party and ask them to look into it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Install anti-virus, or anti-malware
Malicious software (malware for short) can be accidentally downloaded onto your device. It can happen as easily as downloading the attachment of a spam email, or clicking on the web address of a non-secure site. DO NOT ever click or download attachments from unknown senders. This is one of the most common ways that hackers get access to your data. It’s also unlikely that you’ll even know the malware has infiltrated your computer, as it is designed to remain hidden. Installing an anti-malware software from a reputable source onto your devices is an easy way to prevent such malware hacking your data.
Keep your eyes peeled for phishing, and other means of hacking
Emails loaded with malware, and unsecure websites are just some of the ways that your data can be hacked. Sometimes, it can involve actual people. Phone calls asking for your login details for an update are common. For example, someone may call and say: “Hi, it’s Jane from your IT Support Team. I am trying to upgrade your software, but your password has been updated. Could you please provide your new password for the upgrade?” All staff should be trained to look out for these fake calls, as well as spam emails and links.
Cloud software security is more about training and sensibility rather than the actual software itself. Cloud data storage is generally a lot safer than storing all of your information on site. It is a lot easier to steal a USB or a computer than to hack a secure cloud server. However, it is vital that all staff are trained to use to cloud software well. Create secure passwords, install anti-virus, be aware of hacking techniques, and track logins. Following these steps will ensure seamless use of the cloud to reap all of its benefits!
For more detailed information and cloud software security, download our “Cloud security and your business” E-Book here.