Thinking about SaaS risks - data security

This is a guest blog by Larry Augustin, CEO, SugarCRM

The recent cyber-attack on broadband company TalkTalk proved that while not securing your own data can be embarrassing, failing to secure the data of your customers is far more serious.

Headlines about cyber security, database breaches and hacking are becoming commonplace. In the last year PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live were hacked and taken offline for long periods of time over Christmas. More recently, British Gas had the email addresses and passwords of 2,200 customers leaked online. Then there were dozens of attacks that targeted high-profile companies and banks in North America. This included Sony having its confidential data released, and telecommunications giant AT&T falling victim to an attack in which more than 68,000 accounts were accessed without authorisation. The latter was fined $25 million for data security and privacy violations.

Even more painful than the costly implications are the remediation and communication efforts with affected customers, and lost business that results when breaches are disclosed.

However, there are ways to effectively protect data from hackers. Deploying your customer relationship management technology through a Software as a Service model means being reinforced by multiple layers of protection and security. It’s important to ensure that it’s hosted in Tier 1 data centre facilities no matter where it is in the world. The data centres using this application are therefore protected by not just powerful physical security mechanisms such as 24/7 secured access with motion sensors, video surveillance, and security breach alarms, but also security and infrastructure components including firewalls, robust encryption and sophisticated user authentication layers.

Data is a critical component of the daily business and it’s essential to ensure the privacy and protection of data regardless of where it resides. We make a point of taking a holistic, layered and systematic approach to safeguarding that data, ensuring we are constantly evaluating, evolving and improving the privacy and security measures we has in place. We also offer the option to deploy the technology on premise, as well as in hosted and hybrid configurations, flexing to meet the broadest range of security and regulatory requirements.

Gathering and storing good quality data is now a business critical activity whether that data is being used to highlight customer trends or telling you how valuable a customer is to your business – the benefits are clear. As it grows in importance, IT professionals are now under greater pressure than ever to spare a business the embarrassment of data breaches through ensuring the best IT practices and systems are in place to keep their customer information out of reach.