Using an online workspace - and equipping your organisation with all the benefits that brings - involves data (project details, shared documents, conversations between team members) moving into the cloud.
For some business leaders, this can mean that plans to use a cloud collaboration tool are shelved before they even reach the boardroom table. Although the debate around cloud security has moved on significantly over the last few years, there are still plenty of CIOs and other senior figures who will run a mile at the first mention of the cloud.
It’s a real shame, because those leaders are effectively denying their teams the opportunity to become faster, more productive and more agile by using cloud tools. At the same time, it's hardly surprising that some of them harbour lingering uncertainties about cloud security. Consider the contrasting views promoted via the technology press, where articles about security in the cloud seem to alternate from one extreme to the other.
One minute CIOs are being told that file sharing applications represent "the weak link" in the cloud, the next minute an expert from Google is informing them that using a cloud platform is actually more secure than storing corporate data on-premise.
Of course, the reality is slightly more complex than either position indicates. While it's true that some file sharing tools contain security vulnerabilities (particularly those designed for consumer usage, rather than enterprise scenarios), tools that offer file sharing and cloud collaboration with robust security credentials are also available. And in some cases, these platforms genuinely can challenge the assumption that on-premise is more secure.
If you're looking to deploy a secure online workspace where your team can collaborate, these three simple security checks should help you assess the suitability of a cloud tool - and even get your CIO on side.
1. Assess data centre security
A cloud platform cannot offer security without a secure data centre to house its servers. Make sure you check the details of the data centre/s used by your chosen supplier - including their location. If this information isn’t readily available, ask for it - a reputable provider should have nothing to hide. At Kahootz, all our servers are kept in a secure premium data centre in the UK - a condition we are required to meet as part of the cloud hosting requirements of the government's G-Cloud framework.
2. Check certifications and reputation
Data security certifications are useful for evaluating the credentials of a potential supplier. The ISO 27001 certification, for example, is given to companies that achieve the highest available accreditation for information protection and security.
However, certifications won't necessarily tell the full story, so look for examples of real-world deployment and evidence of satisfied customers as well. The reputation of a good cloud provider that meets the security requirements of its users should tell you just as much as a list of accreditations. The service we provide at Kahootz is informed by more than ten years' experience as a supplier in the online collaboration sector.
3. Look for internal security features
It's much easier to achieve secure online workspace collaboration with a tool that is designed for security from the very start. That means finding a platform with access controls and a full audit trail of all workspace interactions. This way, you can assign access permissions to every file you share and always keep track of who has viewed your content.
Cloud collaboration software with the security credentials to match its many other benefits is out there, but the variety of tools available can make it difficult for users to select one that meets their needs. Use this simple checklist to start shortlisting providers that can support a truly secure online workspace.