Why cloud-based systems are safer – and how to improve security with remote teams

If your business hasn’t already made the switch to cloud computing, you probably have your reasons. One reason we often hear is a concern about data protection and the potential for loss. What if outside hackers get into your server or software and have access to financial, client or employee information?

This concern is legitimate, and it’s understandable to worry about servers that are not under your control. It’s also true that hackers are a serious threat to business data. However, any information stored in the cloud is likely to be more secure than what’s stored on company devices.

Why? Because reputable cloud providers rely on far more robust cybersecurity for their servers and are constantly updating security measures so that you don’t have to worry about installing the latest patches and upgrades.

In addition, their servers are generally offsite in locations that most workers don’t have access to, and the files stored on them are encrypted, which makes them harder for hackers to acquire.

But what about remote teams?

“OK,” we hear you saying, “I’m on board with offsite servers and cloud-based software, but due to COVID this year, I had to scramble and let half of my staff work from home. How do I know that my company data won’t be at risk?”

Again, this is a legitimate concern – and not just for small companies. In September 2020, Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds noted that cyberattacks against the country had increased in frequency in recent months, in a report which cited 4,500 hacking attempts in one day. SECMON1 incident response director Chris McNaughton also announced that there had been “big increases” in data breaches and cyber ransom attacks since March.

The good news is that even for remote teams, the top cloud-based systems are still more secure than office-based systems – and if you had to switch to remote working this year, you know the value of having a system in place that allows for offsite data access and communication. Remote working is not going away when COVID does, so here are things you can do to help decrease your risk of hackers and improve your business’ data protection:

  • Create a remote work policyIf you had to set up a remote team in a hurry back in March, you may not have had a chance to create a remote work policy establishing guidelines for your team to follow whenever they work outside of your central office. Among other things, this policy should explicitly explain when and how information gets accessed or shared.
  • Communicate with and educate your employeesOnce you have a policy in place, talk about it with your staff. Explain the importance of keeping data secure, why you have these rules and things to look out for, such as phishing or malware attempts that can show up in emails and often include suspicious attachments. It’s a good idea to review your policy with staff from time to time, too, especially when you acquire new employees or make policy updates.
  • Evaluate your virtual private network (VPN) 

    If you already have a cloud-based system and server, your provider should have set up a virtual private network (VPN) for you that allows employees to sign in and access company data from offsite. However, if you set up a system yourself, you’ll want to make sure your VPN is up-to-date, secure and has enough bandwidth for your needs. (Need help with this? Contact us.)

  • Use two-factor authenticationWeak passwords are one of the biggest security threats to anyone using the Internet. But even strong passwords aren’t necessarily good enough anymore. Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to log in – such as requiring both a password and a code sent to a mobile device – can make a huge difference if somebody’s password gets hacked.

Need help setting up a cloud-based system or improving data security for your business? Contact Solutions+ today.