News headlines continue to underscore the importance of securing consumer data, especially now that so much business data resides in the cloud. Data breaches and hacker attacks have long been known to cause public relations nightmares for many companies, so the notion of depending on third-party cloud service providers has unsurprisingly caused concern in the business world.
As you deal with issues of reliability, ownership, and privacy regarding your move to the cloud, security concerns will inevitably also come into play. You don’t want to miss the competitive advantages that you can achieve through the cloud, but you also don’t want to accept liability for damage caused by lax security. As you ponder the security of your CRM data in the cloud, you should give the following concerns your top priority.
Regardless of your industry and the market you serve, your customers are your most valuable assets. When they trust you to supply them with products and services, they expect that you will responsibly handle their information. As a result of the trust your customers place in you and your team, you need to take measures to secure your networks and applications.
In most cases, the cloud can secure your customer data better than you could secure it using on-premises servers. Cloud companies recognize the importance of data security, and invest in the latest hardware and software countermeasures. For example, you can expect your cloud service providers to have professional security teams in place and to utilize SSL encryption between servers and end points.
It is important that you control who can access your CRM data to protect your customers’ privacy. Cloud-based CRM products give you a chance to unify mobile and remote workers with your on-premises team while enforcing strict access controls. You can configure user-based and role-based access permissions to allow access to customer information on a need-to-know basis.
Regardless of whether you access CRM via a public, private or hybrid cloud, you can rest assured that your service providers have systems in place to ensure that their other clients cannot access your data. Your service providers will also have policies in place that allow their team to access your data only on when needed to provide you with an outstanding level of service.
Companies that move to the cloud often fear that they will lose ownership of their data. You don’t have to worry about your cloud providers selling your information on the open market. Despite the fact that your data resides on third-party servers, you still own it.
Although you don’t relinquish ownership of your data, you might discover that some service providers don’t give you full control over your data. As you select a CRM provider, you should, for example, choose one that has tools in place that allow you to download or transfer your data in case you ever want to change services.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Data?
Your transition to the cloud gives your business valuable opportunities to improve customer service and operational efficiency. At the same time, you can enjoy vital security enhancements by using the following tips.
Control CRM Access
The security of your CRM data can be easily endangered by reckless employees. If your employees use BYOD devices to access CRM apps a stolen device is all it takes for someone to gain access to your data.
Make sure your employees are aware of the consequences of your customers’ data being compromised. Hackers who breach your database can get hold of your customer’s personal information and use it for identity theft or other criminal intentions.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you have two-factor authentication so that additional permission is needed even if someone gets ahold of your login information.
Choose Your CRM Provider Carefully
Implement robust security measures in your company and choose a CRM provider that uses the industry’s best security practices as well as the latest security technology. Providers with certifications that include ISO 27001, SOC 2 and CSA STAR can often provide you with high levels of security, but uncertified companies might also have good security practices in place.
Research every prospective service provider and choose only from the ones that support full server-level encryption and encrypted data connections. You should also learn about the security of your provider’s APIs if you intend to integrate your CRM with other software tools.
Keep an Eye on CRM Activity
Always monitor the activity of your CRM application to look for unusual data access patterns. You should also maintain good physical security over the machines and devices to which you allow access. Assemble a team to monitor your CRM resources and have threat protection systems in place that can monitor your application.
You should also have a data security training program in place to ensure that every team member knows what they need to do to protect business-related data. You should also utilize all the access controls offered by your CRM application to require strong passwords and restrict access to sensitive data.
Cloud technology makes powerful CRM tools accessible to businesses of any size. As you plan your migration to the cloud, you should prioritize the security of your data. Fortunately, most cloud service providers have robust security technology and teams in place that give you and your team peace of mind.
Although cloud providers can secure your customer data, they also protect your ownership rights to your data and ensure that other CRM clients can’t access your information. You also have a responsibility to your customers to preserve and protect their privacy and data by wisely choosing your provider and implementing good security practices in your organization.