How secure is Office 365? Small businesses learn more about data security features of Office 365

How secure is Office 365? Small businesses learn more about data security features of Office 365

Before Kah Motor jumped onto the cloud computing bandwagon, data security was a key concern for its top executives.

The distributor of Honda vehicles has been using Microsoft Office 365's online e-mail service since 2011.

Mr Billy Cheng, its group head of IT, had to convince his bosses that the company's data would be safe in Microsoft's hands.

"I had to assure them that the data will be hosted in Singapore and that Microsoft has good security credentials," he said at a cloud computing seminar organised by Digital Life and Microsoft last week.

Held at SPH News Centre, the seminar offered some 200 participants a glimpse of how Office 365 and the cloud can help small businesses boost productivity.

While most organisations are used to keeping corporate data within their walls, a shift to cloud computing means that their data would be hosted on the Internet.

"Customers are very concerned about the security and privacy of their data on the cloud, said Mr Lennon Tan, StarHub's director of business development for Office 365.

StarHub resells and bundles the Office 365 service with its fibre broadband packages for businesses.

Mr Tan said: "They want to know if their competitors can peek at their data to understand what they are doing."

To address those concerns, he said, the Office 365 service isolates one customer's data from another's.

In addition, customers are assured that no one - not even StarHub - will be able to read their data, Mr Tan said.

Microsoft's cloud sales manager Smita Roy said it has also established a Trust Centre website that addresses the security concerns of Office 365 customers. This provides information, for instance, on how Microsoft ensures that customers' data is kept secure and private.

It includes security certifications that Office 365 has received, such as ISO 27001, which details rigorous processes to protect corporate information, including the physical security of data centres.

Office 365 also meets the security standards set by the Federal Information Security Management Act (Fisma) on US government agencies.

In Singapore, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has drafted standards that cater to the security needs of different cloud users.

aarontan@sph.com.sg

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