In today’s digital age, the way we store and access data has undergone a significant transformation. Gone are the days of relying solely on on-premises systems and storage. The rise of cloud technology has revolutionised the way that organisations handle their data.
However, it is crucial to understand where your organisation’s data is stored and who has access to it.
What is “the cloud”, and who is protecting the data in it?
The concept of “the cloud” refers to storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet, instead of on local servers or personal computers. Cloud storage providers offer scalable and flexible solutions that have become increasingly popular. However, it’s essential to consider who is responsible for safeguarding your data.
Different industries have different levels of security requirement when it comes to data, and while cloud service providers have security measures in place, what are their protocols, and do they align with your organisation’s data protection requirements?
Data sovereignty and offshore data storage
Some cloud storage or application providers opt to store their data within Australian shores, ensuring that it remains within the country’s jurisdiction, however others may choose to utilise data centres that are located overseas. This is often driven by factors such as proximity to corporate offices, or the cost-effectiveness of offshore data centres.
Having your company data stored overseas could be a large risk to your security and compliance, as it could be subject to foreign government bodies thanks to their data sovereignty laws.
Identifying data locations and storage platforms
To ensure protection of your data, it is vital to know precisely which cloud platforms your organisation is using, and where that data is ultimately stored.
Conduct a thorough audit of your organisation’s cloud services and anywhere that company data could be transmitted. This could include things such as:
- Website hosting
- CRM or other client management software
- Job management systems or apps
- Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok
- File storage such as Dropbox or OneDrive
Identify the specific data centres or regions where your data resides so that you can make informed decisions and manage risks associated with data storage and privacy.
Data protection, back-up, and security measures
When entrusting your data to a cloud service provider, it’s crucial to enquire about their data protection and security practices. Understand how your data is protected from unauthorised access, whether encryption measures are in place, and how back-ups are handled. Robust security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, help to safeguard your organisation’s valuable data.
Access control and user permissions
Controlling access to your data is vital to maintaining its confidentiality and integrity. Ensure that only authorised individuals within your organisation have access to sensitive data stored in the cloud. Establish clear user permissions and regularly review and update them as personnel changes occur. We would recommend building in an off-boarding process for personnel to ensure that all access to your data and systems is removed in a timely manner. This practice can minimise the risk of data breaches.
Considerations for free services and data monetisation
While some cloud services are offered for free, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential trade-offs. Remember the saying, “If the product or service is free, then perhaps you are the one being sold.” In some cases, free services may monetise user data by analysing it for targeted advertising, or selling it to third parties. Be mindful of the terms and conditions and privacy policies associated with free services, particularly if your sensitive data is going to be stored or transmitted there.
Understanding where your organisation’s data is stored is paramount in today’s cloud-centric world. Take the time to assess your cloud storage providers, their data centre locations, security measures and access controls.
If you need help in this space, the Calvert Technologies team is always here to assist. We offer end-to-end cloud solutions that are setup to suit your individual business operations.