So, you're well on your way to moving your business to the cloud. You've figured out how to go mobile, serve your clients and attract the best staff who can now work from anywhere. Now that everything is chugging along smoothly, you should probably take a moment to check on your client data. Where is it stored? How secure is the storage? Can governments access the information?
Why is Data Privacy Important?
Data privacy is massively important in the world of cloud computing because you, as a business owner, are putting your client data in the hands of your cloud hosting provider. That provider must comply with laws in any (and all) regions where its employees are located and its data is stored. If the cloud provider has data centers in the U.S., Canada and India, for example, it must follow the privacy (and disclosure) laws of each of those countries.
At this point in time, there isn't one universal data privacy law that oversees how data can be accessed and used. Each country has its own. The one constant is that most governments have allowed themselves more access than less.
The U.S., for instance, has devised the Patriot Act which allows the American government to take whatever data it wants. Other countries have passed variations on that theme. You become subject to the laws of all countries where your data is stored. Yikes!
Before the fear of data breaches forces you to make a beeline back to last century's technology, let us reassure you: there are ways that you can protect the sensitive data that your clients have entrusted to you, and one way is by choosing the best cloud hosting provider.
Data Privacy: Checklist for Your Cloud Provider
Your mission-critical data is important, which is why you need to take care in choosing the best cloud solution for your business after you've researched your options for cloud hosting providers.
Over the last decade, more niche cloud providers have come into being. These are companies that specialize in very specific markets, such as QuickBooks cloud hosting, and tailor their services for those businesses.
Summit Hosting, for instance, has been providing cloud services on dedicated servers to the accounting and financial services sector for over a decade. Our services and solutions can be easily customized to the needs of any business in that industry thanks to our use of dedicated servers for clients rather than shared servers.
Here's a quick checklist to consider as you move toward finalizing your cloud provider:
1. Consider the Hosting Contract
When you draw up a contract with your cloud provider, try to include as many of these items as possible:
- Confirm who owns your data.
- Require the cloud provider to return or destroy your data when the contract ends.
- Note in which country the data will be stored and who will have legal access to it. If possible, ensure that your data can't be transmitted outside your own country. At Summit Hosting, we have data centers in the U.S. and Canada - all of our Canadian cloud hosting clients' data is stored in Canadian data centers and adheres to data sovereignty standards.
2. Do a Security Check
Ask the cloud provider what their security procedures and standards are. They should use high-quality encryption, so that anyone who does happen to spy on your data won't be able to glean anything from it. Find out who can access the data and how they prevent unauthorized access.
Here's a tip that most businesses never consider. Did you know that you can negotiate audit rights? In other words, you might be able to write into the contract the right to drop in to visit the cloud provider's data center. That might not be very practical if the data center is halfway across the world. But if it's nearby, why not check it out for yourself and meet the engineers protecting your data in person?
Data Privacy Protection Tips
-Do a data privacy impact assessment. You know the kind of data you collect from your clients. You don't need to upload all of it to a cloud provider. Customize your cloud solutions so that it fits with your business practices and comfort level.
-Consider starting off with a hybrid cloud approach. This is essentially one way to customize your cloud experience. You can choose to upload certain software that you can access remotely, such as Sage 100 Contractor, and keep other files or different software stored on your own database as you dip your toes into these new waters.
-Provide transparency reports to your clients. Whether or not you store some or all of their data in the cloud, they deserve to know how their private data might be accessed and used.
Wondering How We Protect Your Business Data in the Cloud?
At Summit Hosting, we take data protection seriously. We’ve spent well over a decade developing bullet-proof cloud solutions and services that go above and beyond to deliver the best performance and peace-of-mind data security.
Ready to learn more about our security practices or how many ways migrating your data into the cloud can help your business? Give a hosting specialist a call at 888-244-6559 or fill out this contact us form today.