The risks of trusting Saas companies with your data

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Companies have been tempted by the flashiness and convenience of the many thousands of software-as-a-service companies out there. But by using the plethora of these cloud services, can your organization really ensure that your critical business information is safe and secure?

Here are some risks that your organization should evaluate before using software as a service companies:

1. Where is your sensitive business data going?

Often organizations overlook the simple questions, like "Where will be data be stored?". What Country will it be in? If my data will be stored in the United States, does this violate any laws in my Country of residence? Does this violate any laws for storage of my personal health information or other sensitive business data? It is surprising how the slickness of some of these Saas companies can lead organizations to become more careless and willing to store their sensitive business information outside of their control.

2. Are all points in the chain of communication secure?

Your sensitive business information can be transferred by your employees using many different processes and technologies. What is the full chain of communications and data path? Have you done an assessment on the level of security at each network hop? Are there any weak points in the flow of your data communications? If so, your organizations sensitive business data is only as good as the weakest point. For example, many companies are transferring data from point A to point B unencrypted. Many companies are also using insecure technology, like standard email to transfer confidential data with insufficient security.

3. What security threats or events have the Saas provider experienced in the past?

Many organizations assume that using large providers who have built trust within the internet are secure, but this is not always the case. Recently, approximately 30 million Facebook users data was breached by hackers who exploited a vulnerability in Facebook's code, allowing them to steal access tokens. Google exposed approximately 500,000 peoples personal information through a vulnerability in Google+. Equifax, a leading provider of identity theft in the USA, had over 143 million records exposed due to their lack of attention to updating software on one of their webservers. Do some digging on the software as a service provider you're thinking about using and then weight the risks.

4. Is the Saas provider going to mine or access your data?

Many organizations don't realize that Saas companies are accessing and tracking information on your usage of their services. This can lead to privacy concerns and confidential data being exposed to parties that should not be privvy. Even with organization like Google, mine and track the information stored in Google Drive folders. Google is using advanced machine learning and other A.I. technologies to examine vast amounts of information in near real time. Google scans all documents and information for malware, viruses, and abuse, but what sort of moral hazards does this impose if everything your organization is storing is essentially scannable by Google?

5. Everyone is using it

The herd mentality is a real phenomonon. Just because you're aware of many different organizations using a specific Saas technology, it doesn't mean that your organization should jump on board. Your organization may have sensitive business data that needs specific security requirements around it, or may need to adhere to different laws.

6. The centralization of everything

By having so many organizations using software as a service on a large scale, there are now vast amounts of data being horded by these software as a service companies. These organizations must maintain top flight security standards and be constantly vigilant to protect data on their networks. By centralizing everything, this creates more refined targets for hackers to attack. Integratr believes that by providing consumer-grade applications in your data centre, your organization will have control over your own data, and then have less risk exposure to large scale data breaches from centralized systems.

7. Loss of control and potential stability

Most of the software as a software service companies provide promises like "99.9999% uptime" and full redundancy. The reality is, that if you use their services, suddenly your business is at risk of potential outages, changes, and stability concerns which are outside of your control. These outages can occur at any time without any heads up, and then your organization is at the whim of initiating support requests and checking uptime status pages for updates. Check any of the software as a service companies Twitter pages before you start using their services - many companies have support accounts which are littered with service outage notifications, regardless of the size of the Saas company.

8. Dissapearance or insolvency of the cloud provider

Many of these software as a service companies are losing money, but have taken in big investment to stay afloat. While they may seem stable, what happens if they go bankrupt or go out of business? Have they backed up your sensitive business information somewhere? Where has it gone? Can you reach them?

9. Influenced by consumer-grade applications

Many organizations are looking at consumer-grade applications which have all the bells and whistles and want to use those applications in their enterprise. Enterprise software has unfortunately lagged behind in terms of the polish that consumer grade apps have, and also many enterprise software solutions are very expensive. Another factor is that perhaps your internal IT or development teams can't build these products with adequate skills. That's where Integratr comes in: we've built a platform that can sit within your data centre and connect with all of your existings system. And even better yet, we will do the setup and configuration so that your internal teams don't have to.

What can I do to protect my sensitive data?

If your organization is interested in using modern applications to do secure communications, but still store and have full control over your data - please reach out to the Integratr team to learn more. We can show you exactly how the Integratr platform works and provide a software demo at your convenience.


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