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Did you make the move to a data center or a cloud computing environment and let out a sigh of relief when your IT infrastructure management was taken over by a data center instead of housed within your organization? Maybe you thought, “Finally! I’m done with having to deal with security threats!” We hate to break it to you, but no, you’re not.

While it’s true that data centers do have a responsibility to provide a secure environment, don’t make the mistake of thinking the data center’s security measures will be enough to protect your business from hacking and other cyber threats. Chances are good, they won’t be enough to prevent and thwart attackers. Why not? Because they aren’t intended to.

Safeguarding Your Business Data

Data centers definitely have systems in place to protect the security of the center itself but enterprise and application owners also have a responsibility to protect their own data, applications, and operating systems that are housed within the data center.

Since many cyberattacks come from applications and then branch out from there, all it takes is one mistakenly opened email for an attack to gain a foothold and exploit your network. In fact, the threat could come from inside the data center itself, if a virus or malware enters another business’ network and then infiltrates the data center and makes its way to your network. This is all the more reason to adopt cyber safeguards for your business on your own.

Businesses need to have appropriate policies and safeguards in place to protect their information and data themselves. Policies should include:

  1. Employee training and awareness. Educate your employees on best practices to minimize cyber risks. Cover things like sharing sensitive information with outsiders, phishing attacks, downloading malware, and what to do if a laptop or company-issued device is lost or stolen.
  2. Vetting of service providers with access to sensitive information and/or systems. Do your research and vet third-party vendors and service providers who may have access to sensitive data. Include confidentiality and security obligations in vendor agreements.
  3. An incident response plan in place and ready to go. Have an incident response plan in place that you can enact as soon as a breach is discovered.
  4. Work with your data center. Review your data center’s physical and cyber security procedures to understand where the data center’s responsibility ends and yours begins. Work with the center to ensure all areas of risk are protected.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that outsourcing a function, in this case, IT infrastructure, means you’re absolved of all care and responsibility for the function, but when it comes to sensitive business and customer data there is no such thing as being too cautious.

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