Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Staying Secure

A major benefit to SaaS (software as a service) or cloud computing, is the ease of being able to access the software from anywhere with internet. Not only has this made made access more flexible but has also dramatically reduced the cost of the software since there is no need for a local server. Sharing data on the cloud couldn't be easier; and finally we can have 2 people working on the same thing, at the same time.

With the privilege of cloud computing also comes responsibility. Although SaaS programs are highly securely designed systems, the client still needs to play a role in maintaining security. Here are some tips to help you, the client, do your part.

Back up your data regularly. All good SaaS programs, like Amp (ampEducator), backup your data daily and have backup options available (such as data export) so users can store their data offline. It is simply good practice to keep a stored secure copy (preferably off-site) of your data. 

Ensure your web browser is secure and up to date. If you're not certain, check the "About" section in your browser (usually found under Help) to see that your version is the latest and is updated.  

Where are your passwords saved? Most browsers offer an option to save your usernames and password for easier future access to the website. This is a quick and convenient way to login, but is it secure? Well, it can be, provided your computer is secured with a login password and if your computer is not shared with another user. Another good idea is to protect your browsers Settings section with a password (this option is available in Firefox and Chrome). If you don't password protect your browser anyone who uses your computer/browser could go into your browser settings and view all your saved passwords.

Are you accessing from a mobile device? In the result that your smartphone is lost or stolen it's important to password protect your smartphone. Since a phone is more likely to fall into the hands of a stranger (compared to say, a desktop computer) it's advisable to use caution when storing passwords or sensitive information on your phone.

Did you know that the biggest threat to company data security most often comes from within? Many only focus their security efforts on outside threats like spammers, hackers, spyware, etc. Although it's important to protect your information from the outside, it's just as important to pay attention to your staff and how they are using company data/info. Hire your staff strategically and carefully. Ensure your staff follows protocols when it comes accessing data like your SaaS account.