Inquisite’s Executive Q&A Series Asks, “Is your survey data safe in the ‘cloud’?”
Inquisite (www.inquisite.com), an established provider of Web-based software for easily collecting, understanding and managing feedback from customers and employees, today released the latest in a series of postings from Inquisite leadership answering the most common customer survey and employee survey-related questions. Today’s guidance is provided by Inquisite Chief Technical Officer David Jacobson.
Inquisite’s survey software transforms surveying from a single event, ad-hoc data collection process, into an automated, ongoing discipline with centralized management over the collection, distribution and analysis of customer (www.inquisite.com/Solutions/CustomerFeedback.aspx) and employee feedback (www.inquisite.com/Solutions/EmployeeFeedback.aspx). Inquisite is designed to ensure the right people have the right data at the right time to make informed business decisions.
Q: I’m interested in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) survey application for getting a better understanding of my target audience’s opinions and insights. But I’m anxious about a third-party having access to my customer and employee email addresses; and I’d like to know that the information provided through the survey process will be safely stored. I’m evaluating vendors now; what should I look for?
A: When it comes to evaluating a SaaS survey provider, certainly breadth of features, functionality and price are important criteria; but perhaps none is more important than security. After all, oftentimes survey software is used with an eye toward increasing understanding and strengthening relationships with key constituents. A breach in security would be a dramatic set-back to that effort.
SaaS is attractive to many buyers because it reduces the amount of computing power you need in-house (you don’t have to buy more servers or allocate processing power and storage from existing servers), and because you’re bypassing the software installation process, you begin using the software almost immediately. In general, many times SaaS can offer a lower total cost of ownership and a faster time to value.
But as you asked, how do you know the survey vendor you’re working with will provide you with a secure SaaS environment? First, look for longevity. You want a provider that’s been around and will continue to be around for the long-haul. You don’t want to entrust your email addresses or your survey results to a vendor that’s not demonstrated its longevity.
Then ask about the technical efforts they’ve made to keep your data safe. You want to know your data will be protected during transmission and storage. For example, is your vendor using the latest in Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, to ensure data is safe during transmission? And if your vendor will also be hosting the data itself, ask about both physical security and redundancy. The area in which the survey software and your data is stored should be secure and there should be a level of redundancy built-in so that you have access to your data whenever you need it.
And in many ways, security notwithstanding, you want to be sure you select a vendor whose software conforms to your business’ operations, not the other way around. As an example, in the next release of our survey platform (coming very soon), we’ve added “single sign-on” support, which allows IT administrators to implement their own security and authentication standards, bypassing the Inquisite mechanisms altogether if they wish.
We’re just scratching the surface here and I’m happy to answer individual questions or concerns about survey software (either installed or SaaS) and security. Feel free to contact me through the email alias, email@example.com.
Inquisite is a leading provider of Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) software and services. Inquisite’s comprehensive solutions facilitate the gathering, understanding and acting upon business-critical data, getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Leveraging Inquisite, critical data can be easily integrated with existing business processes and systems, providing enterprises with the confidence to make the right business decisions to drive their business forward. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Inquisite sets the pace by providing the best combination of enterprise power, operational simplicity, and measurable value. Across every industry, hundreds of leading organizations around the world use Inquisite for their mission-critical customer and employee loyalty initiatives. Making the right decision has never been easier. For more information, visit www.inquisite.com.
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