I was an early convert to the cloud. It suits my business and lets me work anywhere at any time. While I’m an enthusiast of mobile access to all my information, when you’re making the leap, you need to be informed about potential problems, so you can head them off. Here are some risks you’ll want to mitigate:
- Inconvenient maintenance times. Inevitably, whatever host you choose for your cloud-based apps, there will be times when there’s behind-the-scenes tech work being done. You’ll want to make sure you know when maintenance is scheduled so you don’t bring your entire team in for a big project, only to discover your site’s down. Keep track of scheduled maintenance.
- Upgrade/update schedule. Just when you get comfortable with the way an app works, it’ll be time for an upgrade … and you get to learn it all over again. My favorite way to combat this problem is to stay informed about updates and get a core group of your staff trained early, so they can be a resource to the rest of the staff when you absolutely must update or upgrade.
- Terminated Employees. Gone are the days when all you have to do is take back a set of keys from an employee who’s leaving. Now, you have to make sure you protect the valuable information that’s stored online – accounts to which your employees have access. Make sure you have a company procedure for changing passwords and protecting your privacy and the privacy of your clients.
- Inadvertent change. Back when phones were just phones, the worst thing we had to worry about was accidentally “butt dialing” someone. But now that our companies have Facebook and Twitter accounts with mobile access, you have to be extra careful you don’t accidentally post something on your company’s Facebook page that you intended to be on your personal page. Have your IT folks add in extra steps to ensure nothing is accidentally posted or altered via your mobile apps.
- Legal Problems. Certain industries not only expect, but even require confidentiality in client records. Whether you’re an accountant, an attorney, a doctor, or any number of professions for which privacy is paramount, you must ensure your records on the cloud are completely secure. Take the time to vet your cloud provider’s security, and you’ll head off lawsuits.
- Becoming a bigger target. While it’s unlikely someone would try to break into your individual PC in order to get information, when a cloud provider amasses thousands of users records, they’re a much more appealing target for thieves who want your data. Choose your host wisely and have a backup plan in case your account is compromised.
- The cloud is unavoidable. I’m not warning you about the problems you may encounter to keep you from making the transition. I’m helping you avoid some of the pitfalls of working on the cloud. Assess your risks, mitigate the ones you can, and then take the leap.
More business is done on the cloud every single day, and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Businesses who do their homework, create a deliberate plan, and manage the transition carefully will be poised to capture more business and manage it more easily than ever before.