If you’re in the retail industry, you’re already quite aware of how valuable data—especially customer data—can be for running your business. However, that data will also be a key target for hackers and other people who might benefit from stealing it. That’s why you need to do everything you can to protect such information when storing it in the cloud.
Some people would recommend avoiding cloud computing, but that’s not really a possibility anymore, since having instant access to data from anywhere is such a necessity these days. Fortunately, we’ve come up with some tips on how to keep retail data safe in the cloud that we’re sure will benefit your company.
Find a Secure Cloud Service To Use
Whether you’re already with a cloud computing company or still looking for the right one for your business, we recommend that you thoroughly evaluate its security abilities. A company should hold a high standard for data protection and offer services that comply with that. If it doesn’t directly address its own security measures, it probably hasn’t put enough time or resources into perfecting those measures.
Of course, any company could try to trick companies into thinking it cares about security when it really doesn’t. That’s why you need to take a deep dive into what it offers and look for verified reviews to see what other users think.
Read the Terms of Service
You should also make sure you know who you’re protecting your data from. A company might put a lot of work into keeping your business’s information out of the hands of others—while stealing it for themselves on the side. Typically, it can do this legally, too, which is why you must read a cloud service company’s terms and conditions before signing up with it. If you give away your data’s rights to another company, there’s not much you can do to stop it from using that information.
Set Up Your Cybersecurity
Once all of that is out of the way and you’re with a company you can trust, it’s time to set up your layers of security. Start with the services your cloud provider offers; those will be the most optimized to protect your data within its servers. If you want additional protection, you can set up your own antivirus programs, but you’ll want to ensure they don’t interfere with your provider’s programs.
For example, here at Atmosera, we offer Managed Detection and Response (MDR) security services that work in the background to monitor potential threats and let you know if something has gone wrong. If you’re not careful, though, a third-party program could interfere with a system such as this one, lowering its overall effectiveness.
Encrypt Your Data
If you can’t find any suitable third-party security systems that will work in tandem with the ones your cloud vendor offers, no need to worry. There are plenty of other methods to up your online security, and the first is to encrypt your data. Hackers and bots likely won’t be able to breach the wall of protection, but you’ll be reassured to know that even if they do, they won’t be able to make sense of the data they find. When it comes to safeguarding your company’s info, there’s no such thing as too many layers of encryption.
Use Unique Passwords
Not all data is stolen through official hacking, though. Sometimes a person can get away with your files due to a weak password. That’s why you need to make sure your employees use complex passwords that aren’t easily guessable. On top of that, you should encourage them to change their passwords often. This can be a lot to ask of your workforce, so investing in a secure password manager app for them to use would be ideal.
Train Your Employees
Even with secure passwords, your employees could still make mistakes that put your company in jeopardy. That’s why you need to keep them up to date on the latest forms of phishing emails and other types of data-stealing attempts. These types of scams are more common than you’d think, and they’re becoming way more convincing.
Limit Overall Access
Keeping your employees well-informed will help, but there’s no way to protect your company entirely from those types of threats. That’s why you need to limit access to your cloud servers. Your entire workforce doesn’t need to have access to this type of data. It’s not that you shouldn’t trust the people you hire; it’s just safer to allow only those who need access to cloud data to have it.
Vet People Who Have Access
Despite that fact, there may be rare occasions in which someone tries to infiltrate your company from the inside, which is why you should have a vetting process set up for new employees who will have cloud access. Ones with impressive work histories and glowing references are almost always going to be safe bets, but you can never be too sure when your and your customers’ data is on the line. Just be sure to keep an eye on new hires for a while after they’ve joined for suspicious behavior.
Be Careful What You Store on the Cloud
Probably one of the best tips on how to keep retail data safe in the cloud is to withhold the info that doesn’t need to be on it. Sure, most of your data will need stored in the cloud, but just because it can be doesn’t mean it should be. Keep your company’s most vital files in an offline location to ensure hackers will never be able to gain access to them. No security system is perfect, so hiding critical documents is the only way to keep them 100 percent safe.
Back Up Data Locally
No matter what you end up doing to protect your data as a retail company, you should always have a local backup of all your files. This won’t stop someone from stealing or deleting your cloud-based data, but it will keep them from being able to ruin your company by permanently taking it from you. Having company and customer information in a place no one else can ever access is crucial to ensuring its safety.