Trust and IT
Aug 3, 2023
Data Privacy

Small businesses have more options than ever when faced with the decision on where to keep their data. That data can be the regular easy to identify documents, spreadsheets and payment information or it can be things like your contact lists, project plans or proprietary processes. You have some options for how all this can work for you. I’ll go over a few here.

First Tier – SaaS

There aren’t may options that are easier than storing all your digital stuff on one of the many Software as a Service platforms out there. Just pay Google or Microsoft a little money each month and it’s all handled for you, so convenient! Make sure you always use strong passwords (and a password manager) for these accounts and if you can do Multi-Factor Authentication, that’s even better. These services are secure as long as you do your part to keep them that way. A potential drawback to this is when these services change their feature set or terms of service, those changes could impact your data privacy or how you have gotten used to using it.

Second Tier – Self-Managed Cloud providers

If you want a little more control over your data privacy you can opt for a Cloud provider like AWS, Azure or many others. Moving into this area will get you the ability to customize how all your data is stored, transferred and worked with. After you secure the environment with firewalls and VPNs you can choose from a wide variety of Groupware, CRM’s, project managers and communications that will all have encryption to ensure your data privacy.

Third Tier – In-House Servers

This tier used to be the most prohibitively expensive path to data privacy. Those days have changed thanks to virtualization. You can now buy a few off the shelf small PC’s and link them all together for redundancy and make an environment that offers the highest degree of data privacy. Since your data can’t leave your location without your permission (firewalls and VPN’s again) you have the highest level of data privacy. You’ll have to take extra care to make offsite backups.

Each of these has it’s own pro’s and con’s so you should review your options before making a change. There are also some combinations of these tiers that make for a good fit for most use cases.

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