Once you decide to move some or all of your operations to the cloud, you may have concerns about risk and security. There are many benefits to adopting the cloud for your small business. The cloud provides instant access to data anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection. Cloud computing also offers scalable storage for files, applications, and improved collaboration regardless of team members' locations; and saved time and money by eliminating the need to build a costly server system and hire an IT manager. Let’s look at some of the risks, and how you can reduce them.
Risk 1: the Cloud Provider Can Get Hacked
Yes, it’s much more appealing to hackers to go after a giant cloud server than your single little company’s server. Essentially, you have no control over this happening. Yes, cloud computing companies take a great deal of precautions and security measures to prevent hacking, but it’s no guarantee your data is 100% safe.
The Remedy: You can encrypt any sensitive material you send to the cloud so that if there is a breach, hackers can’t do anything with your data. Store your encryption key somewhere other than the cloud!
Risk 2: It’s Difficult to Control Access
Because you need to allow many people access to a given file through the cloud, it can become a challenge to keep up with who’s got access to which data. And what happens if a disgruntled employee decides to take sensitive data with him after leaving your company?
The Remedy: Set up a system to manage who gets access to which files, rather than giving blanket permission to all. Require each employee to use a password to access these files, and as soon as they leave the company, remove their access. You should be able to monitor logs of who has accessed which files, and when they have logged in.
Risk 3: What if Your Data Goes Up in Smoke?
Things happen. Hurricanes, fires, and theft happens, even in the cloud. If the servers that store your data are gone, you’re left with nothing.
The Remedy: Back up your data on another system, whether it’s a local server or a different cloud server. That way, you have an “extra set of clothes,” so to speak, should your data be compromised.
Risk 4: Compromising Industry Requirements
If you work in a highly-regulated industry like healthcare or financial services, you know there are serious restrictions on some of your data. You’re unclear on how cloud storage works with these regulations, because sometimes the data isn’t yours anymore once it hits the cloud.
The Remedy: Talk to industry regulators about the cloud’s role in compliancy and used an industry-approved cloud vendor.
Whether you’re looking to use a cloud-based application for email or CRM, or are looking for cloud-based storage, find out what kind of security measures the cloud company offers, and what they take responsibility for in case of data breach. Most of the time, the onus falls on you, since a cloud company can’t be responsible for thousands of companies’ sensitive data, so take your own security measures to ensure that your data, wherever it floats, is as safe and protected as can be.