As we attempt to speed up transactions – whether in the government or in private companies – the processes of all offices and agencies are centralized and thus computerized. Like any form of technology, centralizing data and files has its pros and cons. It means that people in the same agency can access or modify the same file with just a few clicks regardless of location. It also greatly increases the likelihood that you won’t face a personal or business hard drive failure that ensures not only panic, but real problems.
But as the number of computer users increases, the demand for servers to accommodate data storage and security also rises. It is why cloud computing came into existence – to defy the usual physical limitations we face when it comes to communication and computing. With data on the cloud, we free our computer’s hard drives from the burden of storing such a large number of files yet still allow us to access it whenever the need arises. Indeed, cloud computing will remain to be a permanent fixture in the computing world.
Most people have an idea of what “cloud computing” is. In a nutshell, it refers to accessing documents, information and applications online rather than storing things on hard drives. Dropbox, Apple’s iCloud, and Salesforce.com are all examples.
Although countless businesses worldwide have been accessing their data on the cloud for several years, some are still hesitant. A few reasons for resisting the move to cloud computing include:
Downtime. “What if my documents become unavailable right when I’m about to make an important pitch to a client?”
Security. “Do I know for sure that my important data won’t get hacked?”
Costs. “We have enough business costs. Can we really afford one more monthly service fee?”
So yes, there are data issues in using the cloud. And considering that the cloud supports the function of numerous big companies on the web, issues involving data security should be a reason for concern to all of us.
If you’re a small business owner, you’ve heard a lot about cloud computing in the last few years. You may even be thinking about taking your enterprise into the cloud right now.
Cloud computing, the process of storing data and running software applications offsite on remote servers, has taken off because it provides a high level of productivity and convenience.
Is Cloud Computing Safe?
The assumption that by putting your data in the cloud you’re essentially “hanging it out to the wind” is a false one. In fact, in most cases, storing your data in the cloud is safer than storing it on local servers or in hard copy. Hard copies and local servers can be stolen during break-ins and local servers may be targeted by hackers just as cloud servers are. In fact, data stored in the cloud is less likely to be hacked than that stored locally because the security protocols used by reputable cloud providers are so good now. The very survival of a cloud platform as a business hinges on its ability to keep data safe. Take the case of Amazon Web Service (AWS), the world’s largest cloud provider. AWS uses hundreds of security controls to keep client data safe, including data encryption. The platform serves over a million customers, including Amazon’s giant retail operation.
Smaller providers also have robust security measures in place and the reputable ones have great track records in cloud security. Check out their reputations by doing internet research (look at each company’s client base and testimonials, if available), reading trade journals or by talking to tech experts.
The question now is this, how can you secure your data once it is on the cloud?
Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication systems are your first line of defense when it comes to security.
Train your staff to beware of phishing attacks emails or other communications which trick users into revealing security information like passwords.
Many cloud platforms include login and activity monitoring tools as part of their security measures.
In addition to phishing tactics, hackers also use malware (such as Trojans) to gain access to mobile devices and computers.
Finally, you should strongly consider encrypting your data on the cloud.
There is no assurance that data is 100% secured on the cloud because threats are just around the corner. We have seen things like phishing and ransomware really throw organizations into disarray. We all know that by now. It’s the reason why you should take measures yourself in protecting your data, whether it is on the cloud or on your computer hard drive. Data loss is possible whether through hard drive failure or a malware or virus that managed to get into your system without you knowing.