With the cloud comes many benefits, but also many potential concerns. Sometimes, the scary possibilities keep people from realizing the boons such a service could create. Just how secure is the cloud anyway? Do the pros outweigh the cons? While the cloud is a complex area with many unknowns and factors that are contingent to each individual user, there are some fundamental questions people might have that can be addressed.
Below are five worries you might have when it comes to the cloud – and some thoughts on how much of anxiety they actually should be causing you.
The worry: How much of your privacy is at stake? Does using the cloud mean the whole world will see that sensitive document you put on your business’s shared folder?
The cure: For most small businesses, it turns out your sensitive information might be even safer on the cloud. Your business might specialize in a lot of areas, but data security probably is not one of them. These systems are designed with security in mind and cloud service companies’ whole business model relies on the safekeeping their customers’ data. You can rest assured that they will do their best to take care of your privacy.
David Spark, a contributor to CIO, wrote about this very issue in an article filled with advice from IT experts. Another such expert points out that big cloud providers such as Microsoft are making “Herculean” security efforts at levels that the average company simply could not ever do.
Big Brother is watching.
The worry: What exactly are these third party providers doing with your sensitive information? Will Big Brother be able to spy your business?
The cure: It’s true that the more people you allow access to your personal information, and that of your employees and clients, the less secure it becomes. However, there are ways to curtail personal information abuse.
One of the best things you can do to protect personal information stored in the cloud is to do some research. Once you know you plan to utilize the cloud, start researching individual cloud providers.
Find out information on any provider you might use, and learn at least all of the following.
- Have they had any major reported issues in the recent past?
- What do people who use/have used them have to say about the product?
- Will they offer you an audit log listing anyone who will have access to the information?
- And possibly, what type of measures (such as background checks, etc.) are being taken before granting people access to the information?
Security breaches are everywhere.
The worry: You keep hearing about huge data security breaches happening nearly every day. Surely that is the result of the cloud. Avoid cloud service providers and you are golden. Right?
The cure: Truthfully, it is possible that a cloud service provider will be the victim of a security breach. However, it is equally likely that a personal cloud or storage system will get breached. In fact, according to Spark, with certain types of violations, such as ones caused by malware, on-premise storage is much more susceptible.
As mentioned above however, one significant difference is that, if a breach does occur, the cloud provider likely has much stronger security and resources to identify and locate the source, curtail the damage, and make sure it does not happen again.
I just don’t understand it.
The worry: As with anything in life, when we don’t understand something, we have trouble trusting it. So just what the heck is this so-called cloud?
The cure: If the thing that is stopping you from using a cloud provider is a lack of understanding, there is a simple solution…. take steps to understand it.
Getting informed is a good practice for any business decision. Before you start a new system, you should learn everything you can about it.
- Why are other people using it?
- What are the pros?
- What are the cons?
- Do the pros outweigh the cons?
- How exactly does it work?
The more you learn about the cloud, the more comfortable you will be in your decision whether you decide to try it or forego it. And who better to ask than a cloud expert? Reach out to a trusted service provider and have them give you the rundown on the cloud.
If my server goes down, I’m up a creek.
The worry: If all of your information is on the cloud, and your Internet cuts out, how will you access anything? Will business simply grind to a halt without Internet access?
The cure: A common misconception about the cloud is that once it is in the hands of the provider, there is nothing you need to do. However, you should be taking some steps to ensure data security and other major concerns. And you should be taking steps to ensure continuous service.
There are several ways you can avoid most outages.
- Make sure your infrastructure is secure enough.
- Have a backup server.
- Use an “Always On” service provider like Allied.
Overcoming Your Concerns
Using the Cloud has many potential benefits: from ease of use to eliminating some technology issues from your plate and passing them on to the host server. However, while it does have its risks, if you read up on security issues and talk to a trusted service provider, you might find that the benefits outweigh your fears .