Ensuring Data Protection In the Cloud

By: Joe Caputo

One of the biggest issues facing us today is the storage and safety of our personal information, whether it is on our home computers, mobile devices, or in the “cloud.” At BWFA, we have investigated these topics to find the data storage, communications, and security solutions that are best for our company and our clients.

BWFA takes many measures to ensure the safety of our company data. First, we safeguard our network from hackers and viruses by using “above code” network firewalls and storage area network appliances. Second, when corresponding with our clients, we use encryption software that password-protects sensitive information from interception. Third, we routinely hire outside technology experts to run security audits on our network. Fourth, we partner with top technology engineers in the region to advise us on our technology strategy.

Protecting Data in the Cloud

Only in recent years have we seen the terms “cloud” or “cloud-based” used on a regular basis. Now, almost everywhere we look, we see new cloud-based services and applications developed for managing financial information. So what is the cloud?

All that the “cloud” means is that your data resides on someone else’s server. Your local bank gives you online access so you can view your account balances and pay bills. That’s in the cloud. If you use Gmail or Yahoo Mail to contact friends and family, your email resides in the cloud. Your music on iTunes, photos on Facebook, or your resume on LinkedIn are each housed in the cloud.

We are confident that our service providers and consultants have developed methods to keep data secure in the cloud. We are considering moving to cloud-based storage of our data and our clients’ financial information, (presently the data are housed on our in-house server). There are many benefits of cloud-based computing, including security. Saving data and accessing it through the cloud is faster, more reliable, and less likely to crash than keeping it only on an in-house computer network.

Consider the difference between storing all of your financial information (along with your music, photos, tax returns, etc.) on your home PC or laptop instead of the cloud. What happens if your computer dies, becomes infected with a virus, or gets hacked? Now all of your information is at risk. If your data is spread across various clouds, then the risk of losing it all at once is removed.

If you have any questions regarding the security of your data, contact me at 410-461-3900 or jcaputo@bwfa.com.