What is cloud data protection? How to keep your small business secure

Tom Grange
By Tom Grange, Director - Connectivity Business

Cloud data protection is all about what it says on the tin - protecting your business data in the cloud. And as more small businesses rely on cloud services to store customer details and core business information - it needs to be kept safe!

Whether you're new to using cloud storage or looking to improve your current security measures across your business and train up your employees, we’ll explore what it means to protect your data in the cloud and why it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Male standing in an office in a pink light using a smartphone

What is cloud data protection?

Cloud data protection is a must-have for companies of all sizes if you’re using the cloud to access, store or archive information - like customer details, supplier information and your own invoices!

Imagine the cloud as a virtual storage locker, and cloud data protection acts as a sturdy lock and key. It’s there to keep your business's digital belongings safe and sound without the risk of this important data being stolen by hackers

Find out more about the cloud and what it means for your business.

How can businesses protect data in the cloud?

For businesses looking to safeguard their data in the cloud, it requires a simple strategy and the right tools. Here are some simple ways your business can keep data secure:

Use strong passwords

Businesses should encourage their staff to use complex passwords. Think of a mix of numbers, letters and symbols, making them tough to crack.

You can also implement multi-factor authentication, as it adds an extra layer of security. This might include a password plus something the user has — such as a security token — or use a fingerprint or facial recognition. This dual-layer approach helps to reduce the risk of unauthorised access. 

Make sure data is encrypted

Encryption is key when it comes to protecting data. It converts sensitive data into a coded format that’s unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the decryption key. This should be applied to stored data and any data being transferred.

By encrypting files before they’re uploaded to the cloud and ensuring they stay encrypted, businesses can safeguard their information from eavesdroppers and cyber thieves.

Use proper access control

Access control involves defining who can view or use certain data, and it’s important for businesses to have clear policies about who has access to what levels of data. 

For example, someone in the HR department of your business might need access to personal employee data, whilst someone on the marketing team won’t. Regular audits of these permissions will help to ensure only the right people have access at all times. 

Regularly backup your data

No one wants to lose all their data — especially when it’s highly sensitive. That’s why regular backups are a crucial safety measure. This means creating copies of data so that in the event of a system failure, cyber-attack, or other data loss incident, businesses can restore their information from the backup rather than lose it forever. 

It's important to store these backups in a separate location from the primary data to ensure they're protected from the same risks.

Why do businesses need cloud data protection?

Much like a ship needs a strong hull and a skilled crew, businesses need data protection to navigate through the turbulent waters of security.

Maintaining customer trust

Customers trust businesses with their personal and sensitive information, and a breach in cloud data can really damage a company's reputation and break customer trust. Effective cloud data protection helps maintain this trust by ensuring customer data is handled securely and responsibly.

It gives your business a competitive edge

Small businesses often don’t have measures in place to protect their data - and hackers know this. So businesses that invest in cloud data protection can gain a competitive advantage and set the standard. It gives reassurance to clients and partners that your business takes data security seriously they can trust you.

Security for remote workers

With the rise of remote working, more data is accessed outside the traditional office environment. Cloud data protection ensures that this data remains secure, no matter where it’s accessed from, which is key in today's increasingly mobile workforce. 

Guarding against cyber threats

Cloud data acts like a barrier, safeguarding sensitive data from the threat of a cyber-attack. With attackers getting smart and creative with new ways of getting inside businesses, having thought-out cloud security measures is no longer optional - it’s a necessity. 

Find out more about keeping your business secure from cyber attacks

What businesses would benefit the most from cloud data protection?

Almost all businesses can benefit from cloud data protection, but some really shouldn’t go without it due to the nature of their trade.

  • E-commerce companies — These businesses are like bustling marketplaces, constantly handling transactions, customer data, and sensitive financial information. Cloud data protection is vital for them to safeguard this data, ensure smooth transactions, and maintain customer trust.
  • Hospitals and healthcare providers — In the healthcare industry, protecting patient data isn't just a matter of privacy, it's a legal requirement. With the sensitive nature of health records, cloud data protection helps healthcare providers comply with laws like the Data Protection Act 2018 and ensures patient confidentiality.
  • Finance — Banks, investment firms, and insurance companies deal with highly sensitive financial data. For them, cloud data protection keeps customer financial information secure from cyber threats and data breaches.
  • Hospitality -  New smart innovations across hospitality are becoming more cloud-based. For example, ordering from hotel rooms and apps for loyalty. Using the cloud improves the guest experience and takes the weight off your employees who can focus on other important elements of your business.
  • Education —  Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities manage a large amount of data, research information, and academic records. Cloud data protection in this sector ensures that this data is kept secure and confidential - keeping parents happy!

How does storing information in the cloud affect data protection laws?

When data is stored in the cloud, it’s often housed in servers in different countries or regions, each with its own set of data protection laws and regulations.

For businesses, this means they need to be aware of and comply with a patchwork of legal requirements, ranging from how data is stored and accessed to how it’s shared and protected. Regulations like the GDPR laws in the UK and Europe put stringent requirements on data privacy and user consent. 

Learn more about data protection and what it means for your business with our guide to GDPR

What are the key legal considerations when moving to cloud storage as a business?

Moving your business data onto the cloud can be extremely beneficial, but there are some legal considerations to keep in mind to ensure that everything runs smoothly:

  • Location of the data — Just like choosing the right location for your office is crucial, knowing where your cloud provider stores your data is vital. Different countries have different data protection laws, and you need to make sure you’re compliant with those if you’re trading in that country. At Bionic, we only work with trusted providers when it comes to cloud-based VoIP solutions for businesses.
  • Read through the terms and conditions carefully — It’s essential that you fully understand the service agreement with your cloud provider. This is more than just skimming the fine print — it’s about fully understanding what you’re signing up for with data management, security protocols and any legal implications. This helps ensure that your data is managed in a way that aligns with your business needs as well as laws and regulations.
  • Conduct regular audits — Conducting regular audits is key in managing your cloud storage. This means reviewing how your data is stored every often as well as how it’s, accessed and protected in the cloud. Doing this allows you to identify potential vulnerabilities or non-compliance issues. Maintaining a routine schedule of thorough audits ensures that your cloud storage strategy remains watertight and secure.

Get your business set with Bionic

Cloud security is not just a one-time setup but should be adapted as your business grows and evolves. Even if you have some cloud data protection it’s worth reviewing it every so often to make sure it complies with new regulations.

Need a new cloud solution for your business communications? Get in touch with our team here at Bionic, who can help you get the best deals on your business connectivity, from broadband to phone and VoIP services.