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6 security questions about cloud collaboration software

If every cloud has a silver lining, you need to make sure it’s protected from accidental loss and light-fingered thieves.

It’s just as true when that cloud is a virtual one, used to provide you with software on demand and to store your data. From our years of developing cloud collaboration software, we recommend that you make sure any cloud system you use is as secure as possible before you entrust it with a single item of business-critical data or any individual’s personal details.

But how do you make sure your chosen software has the level of security you need? To help you, we’ve compiled the six most important questions to ask any provider.

1. Does the software have identity management and an audit trail?

When you’re handling confidential or sensitive data, it’s essential to know who has accessed what information – and when. When procuring cloud collaboration software, make sure that it has a full audit trail that logs all user activity, allowing you see who has viewed, modified or uploaded files.

2. How secure are the software’s servers?

Unless a software provider’s servers are in a physically secure location, they are vulnerable to unauthorised access, theft and events such as floods and fires. Ask your software provider whether its servers are kept in a ‘world-class’ data centre, which has been purpose-built to ensure the highest possible security and continuity of service.

3. Who else can access my data?

Ask cloud software suppliers whether their own staff can access your data and, if so, which people in which roles. Ensure that these individuals are subject to approved staff vetting schemes and confidentiality agreements that restrict them from accessing your data for reasons other than authorised technical support.

4. Does the software have independent security accreditation?

Where possible, choose cloud collaboration software that has been independently tested for security. For example, our solution – Kahootz – is annually penetration tested and approved for UK government use, guaranteeing exceptional levels of security. Don’t rely on a provider’s own word that its software is secure – look for third party accreditation.

5. Is my data encrypted?

Whichever cloud collaboration package you choose, ensure that data is encrypted at every stage of its journey. If it isn’t, you’re leaving the door open for eavesdroppers and hackers to steal your information.

6. Do you have business continuity and data recovery plans?

If the unexpected does happen, and the software provider’s server malfunction or are damaged, make sure it has business continuity and data recovery plans in place – and that your data can be retrieved. Ask whether your data is backed up, and how.

As you can see, there are simple steps you can take to ensure that any cloud collaboration software you procure delivers the level of security you need. Cloud software is getting more and more secure, and it is now trusted by organisations of all sizes – all determined to preserve their own cloud’s silver lining!

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