How Retailers Can Move Smoothly — and Securely — to the Cloud
More and more retailers are moving to the cloud, finding it increasingly useful for trying innovative approaches to reaching consumers as well as its customary role of helping quickly locate and obtain critical customer and other data.
Walgreens is using the cloud to move further into performing healthcare services in-store — and even at customers’ homes. Online clothing retailer Zalando has been trying out a cloud-based technology that connects customers with what they're looking for (e.g., a pair of shoes). And more retailers are moving their point-of-sales systems to the cloud, putting real-time data at their fingertips to better gauge how their stores and inventories are performing.
Each of these retailers examined cloud computing carefully before taking the plunge; other retailers should follow suit. Before moving to the cloud, conduct a strong examination of a prospective third-party cloud security services provider, asking essential questions and expecting transparency in return. Why? Essentially, you're turning over the keys to your invaluable data, and security must be a given.
To ensure a smooth — and well protected — transition to the cloud, here are the issues and the critical questions to ask of your cloud provider:
General and Operational Questions
- How long have you been operating your cloud platform?
- What types of customers do you have? Can you share a list of other retailers that you work with, as well as a few customer case studies?
- What certifications do you hold? Which organization(s) validate your work?
- Who will manage the cloud environment, and what are their qualifications?
- How is data stored? If it's a multitenant environment, how is the environment segregated and secured?
- Who can access company data and under what circumstances and conditions?
- How do you handle securing POS terminals and the regulations they require?
- What regulations and annual IT audits do you comply with?
- Can you share specifics on your service-level agreement, and your recovery time objectives should a disaster occur?
There are also numerous security questions to ask potential cloud providers. Don't hesitate doing so because, again, you must feel comfortable with your ultimate choice.