Imagine a future where a company not using cloud technology is as rare as one that doesn’t use the Internet today. Gartner predicts that this could become reality by 2020. As cloud technology becomes the new norm in business, questions about security and data ownership remain. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released a report in 2016 detailing the top 12 threats to cloud computing, which include “weak identity, credential and access management,” “system and application vulnerabilities” and “data loss.”
Those threats are particularly applicable to field-based industries such as solar, where many companies still collect off-site data using pen and paper or unsecured consumer tools and apps. This also comes with a number of issues, such as the inability to enforce standardization and high administrative costs for cleaning, correlating and re-entering data submissions. As more and more solar providers catch up and shift to mobile and cloud technologies to replace traditional methods of data collection and communication, everyone – from top management, to operations managers and ultimately field personnel – needs to gain a basic understanding of data security.
For solar technicians and managers, cybersecurity may not be a familiar area despite its increasing importance in today’s workplace. If you are looking to evaluate your company’s current mobile/cloud technology or implement a new platform, here are 3 initial steps you can take to start assessing software more confidently:
1. Identify the main types of information your company handles and who needs what level of access
Combat the CSA’s second-most severe security risk by choosing software with a sufficient level of access control management. Start by updating a process map that identifies all the stakeholders who touch your data at different times. Then, outline a plan for the optimal/minimal number of access roles you need and determine what the levels of permission are. Take a look at the software you are considering: will it accommodate the complexity of your organization’s access hierarchy? Does it log everyone’s actions for review should there be a breach?
2. Find out how the software encrypts data
To ensure that your software is protected, check for a SSL/TLS certificate that signals bank-grade security protocol. Your clients’ data is incredibly valuable, especially if you run commercial operations and work with a number of larger businesses. Ask your vendor: where is my data hosted?
3. Determine the software’s reliability in keeping your data safe.
You can go to lengths to ensure that your software is secure, but if data does not make it onto the platform, then there is no use. Being able to have data synced from mobile entries is mission critical to ensuring that all processes – from solar panel installation to maintenance – run smoothly. Find out your software’s backup schedule, whether or not your data can be sold or rented to third parties, and what happens if your field crews’ phones don’t sync up to the server right away.
At Scoop Solar, we employ cloud technology in our mobile-optimized field-to-office platform that sends and retrieves data to field crews so that they always have the latest details. Our team believes in providing solar managers like you with detailed levels of user access control, comfort in the security of SSL data encryption, as well as nightly data backups and secure on-device storage to ensure that your data is protected throughout its journey across field and office.
For more info on our user access control options and other features, visit our website or book a free consultation with us.