How Hosted Exchange Helps You Achieve Better Compliance

Cloud 4 Computers Hosted ExchangeRegulatory compliance compels businesses to treat data with care, and according to frameworks and the law. Some industries are harder hit than others by compliance burdens, but every organisation in the EU has some kind of responsibility to treat data responsibly.

Data protection, and the safe retention of data, is the most common regulatory concern for EU businesses, and it’s not a concern that’s confined to the cloud. The mismanagement of personal information can cost a company dear, regardless of how it happens. A data breach, or mismanagement of data, is likely to pique the interest of the Information Commissioner; while the Office shoe chain was lucky to escape a fine, your business may not be so fortunate.

As your IT systems mature, and your data silos grow, it’s important to consider how that data is being stored and transmitted.

Data Boundaries

The cloud is designed to be multi-location. By its nature, it allows data to be stored in more than one place. For businesses, this is seen as a potential risk.

In fact, risk doesn’t change in the cloud. Our use of remote technologies is not a cause for concern. But businesses are right to be cautious. All of us store masses of personal data in our email mailboxes, and we also deal with intellectual property and other types of data that are subject to compliance or regulation. Once you transmit this data outside your company’s corporate network, you need to know what happens to it next.

Helping, not Hindering

Hosted Exchange involves shifting your company’s helps staff comply with policy by offering them a secure messaging platform from day one.

When you choose the right provider:

– Hosted Exchange is secure, and its ongoing security is managed by a specialised third party who are experts in their field

– Email servers are continually monitored for intruders and unusual activity

– Users can connect to Exchange on any device, including iOS and Android devices, and from any location

– All their favourite features, such as calendars, operate as they always have

– Emails are preserved and archived permanently; vital for companies who need to comply with the UK Companies Act

– Data centres comply with ISO 27001, an information security standard that suggests best practice in data storage

– Email data is always stored within the EU, not distributed to data centres around the world

The latter point is important. If email storage crosses that critical boundary, it may violate the Data Protection Directive. Note that the United States is not an approved, compliant country, which means many cloud services are unsuitable for compliance with EU law.

Cloud ChoicesCloud services

Cloud4 offers Hosted Exchange 2013 or 2010 services, hosted in compliant UK data centres and accessible all over the world. Because your service is managed by us, we take care of essential security patches and services like malware scanning. Our support teams are available 24/7 from our UK offices, ready to assist if you have any trouble accessing your business email.

 

How Hosted Desktop Fits With a BYOD Implementation

Business MobilityLike it or not, employees are moving towards mobile working at an alarming rate. The tidal wave is unstoppable, and mobile devices are often being used as primary devices rather than a convenient extra on the side. This fast-paced adoption is the driving force behind Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), a trend that sees more employees using personal phones and tablets rather than ones that are supplied by their work.

Straight away, we can see how BYOD brings costs down. It eliminates the need for mobile device procurement or refresh cycles, and it lets the user be more productive using their preferred platform for work and play.

Moving to Virtual

cloud4-computers-hosted-desktopMobile devices work well for us because connection speeds are increasing. This is also driving innovation in two separate, but connected, industries: cloud and virtualisation. Cloud data storage is helping us to move away from fixed workstations, while virtual machines leverage the full capacity of available assets to give us more affordable IT solutions.

Mobile desktops are key to unlocking the power in mobile devices. They let users run applications on practically any modern mobile device that has a good quality internet connection. That means you can get work done no matter where you are in the world, even if you have a 3G or 4G connection to the internet.

But more importantly, all of the data your employee works with is held within the virtual machine. It’s not saved to the mobile device. Many businesses cite security as a major concern in BYOD, but using a mobile device is a great way to bypass many of the risks associated with mobile working. All normal applications work, so there’s no need to take data outside of the corporate network at all.

Additionally, with Cloud4, all hosted desktops are secured with two-factor authentication, and the images are stored in ISO-27001 compliant UK data centres. That means there are fewer compliance risks.

Economise Every Step of the Way

Small businesses have been quick to capitalise on the potential savings that virtualisation and BYOD (or even BYOX) can offer, but enterprises and large businesses are catching on fast. Over a large multi-site organisation, the potential savings in procurement and data centre capacity are enormous.

Hosted desktop also helps you cut waste. One desktop image follows each user on their desktop, laptop and tablet; there’s no need for duplication. The days of over-licensing, or hardware over-provisioning, are over.

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Cloud4 uses virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to power its virtual machines, using a RDP or Citrix framework. Your data never leaves the UK, and neither do your support calls. What’s more, we take backups, protect against spam and prevent viruses from infecting your machines.

If you’re interested in obtaining virtual desktops for low monthly subscription fee or just have a question please get in touch. Ask us how hosted desktop could fuel your move towards BYOD.

Do You Know Where Your Hosted Desktop Image is Stored?

All businesses have to comply with certain regulations and laws. In some industries – and continents – unmanaged compliance quickly becomes a burden on profitability. If the business doesn’t take its responsibilities seriously, it can end up paying fines and losing its hard-earned reputation.

If your business has its offices in the EU, you need to be careful about data storage. Cloud computing means your data could be stored literally anywhere if you don’t keep a close eye on the services you’re using.

What’s Special About Europe?

Globally, all businesses must meet compliance and governance requirements, and this has been a barrier to cloud adoption for many businesses. It’s not that compliance changes when you use the cloud – but the nature of the services you choose can affect its impact.

In Europe, there’s a law, the Data Protection Directive, which prevents the transmission of personal data to non-EU countries unless it’s dealt with in a compliant manner. There are 11 approved non-EU countries that are considered to be compliant; all others require special care.

Choosing a Provider Overseas

When storing data in the cloud, the business is responsible for that data. It cannot pass the buck to the cloud storage provider. You need to carry out due diligence and ensure your services are fit for purpose.

If you use a US provider, you need to make sure they are Safe Harbor members and regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. US and EU law actually conflicts in some areas, too. Don’t assume that the US is vetted and allowed for data protection compliance: it isn’t.

There’s the added complication of the Patriot Act: the law that lets US authorities gain access to any data held by a US company if they have good reason to do so. It doesn’t matter if the data was generated by a UK company, or is owned by a UK company. The fact is that it’s stored in US locations, so the Patriot Act is applicable.

The issue of compliance could fill a white paper, or even a book, but one thing is clear: it’s immensely complicated. While public cloud and private cloud services sound simple on paper, storing corporate data can be problematic… and storing your clients’ data very risky indeed.

Often, if you use a very large provider, your data may be stored in multiple locations without your knowledge. That makes it impossible for a UK business to know the risk.

Safe Options

As the data controller responsible for security and personal data, you are ultimately in charge of compliance. The fact that your provider does things you don’t know about is no excuse.

For UK companies, by far the safest option is to host data within the UK. This is a simple way to make sure your data is stored according to the laws applicable to you, so you have complete peace of mind. With your data in UK storage, your risk is mitigated and there are fewer fines to worry about too.