Tech and Trends:- As more and more businesses start using the cloud, those who have been hesitant are starting to ask whether they should be using it as well. However, what if you know people who have had their data corrupted or stolen as a result? Should you be worried? Is there any way to use the cloud more safely? This article aims to help make the picture clearer.
The Benefits of the Cloud
There are two principal benefits to using the cloud: you can access your system from anywhere, and you can get access to software that you couldn’t afford to buy for your office or wouldn’t use often enough to justify the expense. As you learn to take full advantage of these things, they can make a massive difference to the way you do business. For instance, they make home working easier and mean staff members can work while commuting or on business trips. You won’t have to struggle for solutions when you get sent important documents in odd formats, and you can benefit from always having access to the latest versions of the programs you want to use, including specialist software such as design tools.
The Importance of Data Security
Increasingly, data is becoming many businesses’ most valuable asset. It can be worth a great deal to rivals, with the potential to let them steal ideas, designs or valuable working methods. It can be used for sabotage and it can provide access to your bank accounts. With this in mind, it’s important to be careful. Some of that depends on you. Don’t use simple passwords (joining two unrelated words together with another character is quite a good way to create a strong one) and don’t reuse them. Use up-to-date antivirus protection on all your machines and, in case the worst does happen, make sure your insurance covers the potential impact of hacking. When you use the cloud, however, it’s important to be aware that your security will depend to an extent on other people.
Security Risks of the Cloud
By using the cloud, you are relying on your providers to keep your information secure in their database. Sometimes, this is good – they may well be able to afford better security software than you – but if they’re careless, someone may be able to take advantage and break into your system. Because there are many more access points to your system, including computers and phones owned by members of your own team who may not know what they’re doing, it’s much easier for hackers to find weak points.
Faced with these problems, software developers are continually working on ways to make cloud use safer. The CEO of Infor Charles Phillips, has repeatedly spoken on this issue, and his company provides a number of products specifically designed to help; for instance, by identifying weaknesses in the system and by spotting intruders before they attain their goals. Security packages can also help by encrypting your data so that even if it’s successfully extracted, it’s no use without a key. This is something you could do manually but, taking that approach, it’s all too easy to miss things, plus there’s a prohibitive amount of work involved.
One thing that you can do for yourself is to limit who has access to particular types of data in your system, protecting the most sensitive material with extra passwords. This means that, short of major problems at your provider’s end, it should be safe.
The risks of the cloud may worry you, but much of what you need to do to be safe comes down to common sense – and knowing when to seek expert help. If you take that approach, they’re easily balanced out by the advantages that the cloud brings.