In today’s global e-centric marketplace, customer loyalty and business success boils down to one thing: data security. In days past, companies that were worried about securing sensitive or proprietary data would hire a security company to come out and install video monitors all around their building. But today, the security must go where the data is: online and into “the cloud.” This can be a tough concept for companies of any size to wrap their security-conscious minds around. Yet new research shows that most of the companies that express the greatest online or cloud-based data security concerns are the very same companies that tend to maintain less-than-adequate on-premises security measures. Perhaps most compellingly, increasingly even the most security-conscious companies are tackling their fears and moving their data into the cloud; the cost savings and efficiency boosts are too enticing to ignore.

6 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Security Provider

Understanding “The Cloud”

Before you can understand how to secure data in the cloud, it is first necessary to grasp what the cloud is and how it works to secure data on your company’s behalf. Investopedia defines “the cloud” as: “A model for delivering information technology services in which resources are retrieved from the Internet through web-based tools and applications, rather than a direct connection to a server.” Here it becomes easy to see how a company can save money and boost efficiency by using the cloud instead of an onsite physical server system. Employees can access company data from anywhere in the world — all they need is an internet connection and a browser. Companies pay a fraction of what they would pay in physical storage and security costs by transitioning to cloud security solutions that oversee data security virtually.

6 Essential Questions About Security in the Cloud

Before your company will be ready to begin or complete a transition to a cloud-based data storage and security system, however, you must first ensure your data’s security is in the hands of not just a competent but a cutting-edge data security solutions provider. These six essential questions will give you the information you need to select the best possible provider for securing your data.

Can You Explain Your Data Security Architecture?

You want to know how the data is encrypted at each stage of the data creation, transfer and retrieval process. You also want proof that the architecture is regularly audited and vetted for adherence to international data security standards and best practices.

How “Customization Friendly” Is Your Data Security?

High-end cloud-based data security providers should be able to provide a greater degree of customization to meet the unique data security needs of each customer.

Do You Have an Active Security Team That Is On Duty at All Times?

Is the provider reactive or proactive in identifying, quickly responding to and resolving threats? You want to know who will oversee your data security, how you will be alerted to threats and how resolution occurs.

Where Will Our Data Be Housed?

Specifically, you want to know where your data will be stored, who from the provider’s side can access it and how, whether your cloud space is stateside or international (this can affect laws relating to data security breaches) and what happens if the provider changes cloud servers.

What Certifications Does Your Company Maintain?

This encompasses every phase of data life, from creation to storage to retrieval to eventual destruction. Look for certifications and 100-percent compliance in every phase of the data life cycle.

What Protection Does My Data Have if the Unthinkable Were to Occur?

Essentially, you need to know how resilient the provider will be to guarantee data security no matter what happens.

By asking these six questions, you can gather sufficient information to evaluate each potential data security provider and select the one that can meet your company’s data security needs.

About the Author: Charla Germain began her IT career in risk management. She has since transitioned to head up her company’s IT department. When she transitioned the company to a cloud-based storage system, they chose as their provider.