Is your data secure? Here's how we keep your data safe at Croptracker.

As smart farming becomes increasingly popular, so does the need for effective data security. The widening range of devices that are available in farm management software signifies that the quantity of data in the farm cyber- management system is increasing. Smart devices augment what conventional farming tools can do by adding an extra tier of intelligence. This allows people to be involved at a higher level of administration within the farming process. It also means that the data collected by our smart devices needs a highly secure home.

At Croptracker we take data storage and security very seriously, and we know that data safety is a prime concern for many of our users. The proliferation of big data in the 21st century raises important questions regarding how much data is collected, where it is being stored, and how people make use of it. People want to know who else is using their data, and who really owns it. Recurring questions regarding big data show that power-related concerns are often in the forefront of many users’ minds: we want to know that we have control over the data we are providing and that the data will not end up where we don’t want it. Users have to know that their data is used in a positive way and is not vulnerable to exploitation.

Data privacy concerns in farming

In 2014 the American Farm Bureau Federation spearheaded a coalition of major farm organizations along with agriculture technology providers (ATPs) by signing an agreement on farm data management and privacy. Since that time, there has been an increasing amount of innovations and hearings as smart devices continue to be used in business.

Farmers are concerned that even though they provide data to others, such provisions do not necessarily provide an economic return. Farmers also need to be assured that the data ultimately belongs to them, and this is where data security is paramount.

The Big Data Coalition states that information generated by farmers is ultimately owned by them, but they also have a responsibility to agree on the use of this data with traders, suppliers, and others involved along the agricultural food chain. There is little doubt that many farmers see the value of crop management and data capture software, but there are also concerns about data safety where cloud computing and cloud security are involved. Katie Hancock, an agricultural marketing constant with Brock Associates, identified a number of reasons why farmers are often unsure about embracing IT. Among these are concerns related to the fact that most farmers are used to dealing with people as individuals and are not used to trusting a third party with a large amount of data. Additionally, farmers are concerned that their data may end up “in the wrong hands” and that it could be made public or even used against them.

The move towards big data is coming from across the agricultural board – input and technology suppliers are adopting it as an increasingly important business model. As many businesses move towards big data, and as many see it as an inevitability, it is important that farmers see the value and benefits from their data. Concerns about data security are far from paranoia, it  is very much at the vanguard of public interest and it is for this reason that encryption, use of passwords, and proper data and cloud security be used as much as possible. At Croptracker we’re all too aware of the concerns of our users, which is why we are also concerned about proper data storage and safety.

In order to address some immediate concerns of our users, we created a page on keeping farm data safe and secure. At Croptracker, we can ensure that users retain all rights, titles and interest to their data. Additionally, all Croptracker accounts use SSL encryption - the same level of security provided by online banks. We back up your data for you automatically on our local and cloud-based servers, which are all securely firewalled.

The role of Software as a Service

We firmly believe in the benefits of Software as a Service (or SaaS), which refers to the newer ways in which users access software and use it. In the past, software would be purchased by the user and then manually installed onto a single computer. Nowadays, we are seeing the advent of a software model whereby online services are subscription-based and allow people access to a service hosted on the cloud, accessible to users via the internet. Examples of such services are Spotify, Netflix, Google Apps, and Office 365.

SaaS means that the service provided by companies is not restricted by the number of users, and users can benefit from automatic backups and security improvements  while updates are taken care of on the cloud itself. There are also no set-up costs and the usage of the service is scalable - that is to say, additional storage or services can be added when needed without having to make any changes to your local software or hardware. The service is accessible from any device and location and there is compatibility across multiple devices.

Now that we know a little more about SaaS and its usage in the cloud, it is worth addressing why we chose Amazon Web Services, or AWS, to host our users’ data at Croptracker.

A perfect solution for data safety

Our primary concern at Croptracker is data security. In order to ensure the safety of our users' data, we wanted to use a cloud storage provider who shared our values. We needed a provider that understood the primary concerns of our business and those of our users.

Additionally, we wanted to use a service which had the best security - so secure that it would be even more dependable for our users than storing their data locally, and what we found was Amazon Web Services (AWS).

There is a common fallacy that the data stored on a hardware device on one's local computer is more secure and more reliable than data stored in the cloud. This is not the case: your hardware is not designed to be as secure or trustworthy as AWS.

The reasons why we use AWS are multiple, as it makes local personal storage of data much less secure by comparison. First, AWS has a large security infrastructure, meaning that access to the AWS cross-continent network is very tightly controlled. Firewalls are built inside the network which makes control of access from other applications more rigid. Connections to the cloud are very tightly monitored. All traffic is automatically encrypted on the local and regional networks between AWS facilities. In addition to this, AWS ensures that we have a VPC – a Virtual Private Cloud – which is a cloud meant only for us at Croptracker and impenetrable by outsiders. When logging into Croptracker, all connections to the data center are then encrypted through a hardware VPN connection. The servers are also located across three different continents, which means we have an uptime of 99.9%.

We also know how concerned many users are about data hacks or unauthorized data breaches and attacks. In the past, one of the most common ways of attacking a service was through DDoS attacks or Distributed Denial of Service attacks. AWS has a number of measures in place to provide defense against these and to reduce impact.

Encryption is one of the main reasons why we decided on AWS. All connections are automatically encrypted in AWS storage and database centers. Traffic is heavily monitored and notifications are given when events occur which appear to be unusual, worthy of concern or unauthorized.

Access control is heavily regulated and there are multiple ways to enforce and manage this. Amazon is also careful when it comes to respecting the privacy of its users. They are very strict with the information given out and will not provide it to a third party unless they are legally required to do so. They are very outspoken regarding security and encryption technology and oppose any who prohibit it. All information requests can be found in detail online.

Why we believe in our data security model

Software as a Service, in combination with Amazon Web Services, give our users a huge amount of security in cloud storage, and it also gives our service reliability. Data is more secure because of manifold backups - if you store your data locally, it means that it is far more at risk of personal mistakes. Human error is accountable for a large amount of data loss, in fact, around 64% of data loss is down to human error, normally due to users deleting something by mistake, overwriting important documents in error, and not having any kind of backup solution.

By using SaaS and AWS, we believe that we provide a highly secure data storage model - far more so than having data stored locally. The encryption, dedicated backup centers over multiple locations, firewalls, networks and mitigation against attacks, as well as constant monitoring and logging of incidents, means that our clients' data is safeguarded. We realize that farm produce and data are inextricably linked and both should be respected and protected. You wouldn't compromise your wares, so you shouldn’t compromise your data.

Why Croptracker is the best solution for data management and security

We put a lot of time, effort and care into Croptracker. We do our best to make sure our applications are innovative, easy to use, and exceed our users’ expectations. We take our role very seriously, as our clients take theirs. We believe we have come up with the very best solution for not only helping the production of farmed goods and giving great results to our clients, but we also believe we provide the best security and data storage solutions. If you want to know more about Croptracker, you can request a free private demonstration now. Our staff will be happy to walk you through the Croptracker system and to answer any questions about our service and data security. We are here to help, so get in touch with us today to see how we can improve your business and help it to develop in new and exciting ways.


Need a refresher on any of Croptracker's features? Head over to our Knowledge Base, where you'll find step-by-step tutorials as well as common troubleshooting tips and more.  And as always, if you're ever stuck, never hesitate to e-mail us at or Live Chat with us by clicking the green speech bubble helpicon in your bottom right-hand corner.  We're always happy to help you let Croptracker make your farm become more efficient, safe, and profitable!