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Data Security & Cloud Computing

With its numerous benefits, cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, and many companies are wondering how safe it really is. The ITI team boils it down for you.

In cloud computing, data is transmitted over the Internet and stored on servers that are not always located in Canada and are often shared by multiple customers. As a result, the risks of hacking and misappropriation are very real.

Data confidentiality and privacy protection

Can a cloud service provider ensure the confidentiality of your data and protect your privacy? Yes, as long as they have the right expertise, infrastructure, and best practices.

Keep in mind that your company is responsible for any data uploaded to an IT provider. So in the event of a leak, fraud, hacking, and the like, you could be held responsible before the law.

A competent and professional cloud provider should be able to walk you through everything relating to security, the need to segregate data from different customers, and the legal secondary use of data. They should also regularly review their policies in order to safeguard sensitive data. A tech team should monitor all online services 24/7 in order to take action as quickly as possible in the event of a failure or any other problem.

Points to discuss with your cloud provider

Do not hesitate to ask questions—your provider should be able to give you details on the following:

  • Security measures in place
  • Identification and access protocols
  • Hacking reports
  • Data segregation framework
  • Information provided in the event of a problem

Make sure to ask if they have a privacy policy as well. You have to understand how customer information is collected and used.

You need to know exactly where your data is stored because the biggest security risks in cloud computing are:

  • Data theft and hacking
  • Data stored in a foreign country (the government may have access to it due to different legislation)
  • Cloud provider reliability (competence, responsibility, protocols) and solvency
  • Restricted access to sensitive data (only specific individuals have access)

If you think your operations require a higher level of security, you should consider private rather than shared (public) cloud infrastructure. With private cloud infrastructure, servers and applications are not associated with those of other companies. So the risk of joint hacking is nonexistent. It is, however, more expensive.

Electronic commerce is primarily regulated by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). As mentioned above, you could face legal action if the security of your customers’ personal information is compromised. So if you want to sleep soundly, make sure you choose a safe and reliable cloud provider.

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