Today’s business climate is more competitive than ever, and as a small business owner, it’s important that you get the tools you need, when you need them. Whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet or computer, you’ll need instant access to important files and other information—and cloud computing will give you just that, and more.
What Kind of Businesses Use Cloud Computing?
Individuals, governments and educational institutions use cloud-based computing. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from it, and use the cloud to access information from almost any device. With cloud computing, you can access files, collaborate remotely, and use apps just as you would if you were in the office. Even if you can’t access your office server, your cloud data is always updated.
Cloud Services for Business Owners
Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses use hybrid, private and public cloud services to store and access data and applications. In a hybrid service, a business’ IT team manages the cloud partly in-house, and the rest is handled off-site. Public cloud services are built on externally-run platforms, and users get space on a shared server. Everything from maintenance and security to system resources are handled by the provider. Private cloud services are built on your hardware, using your software. Your IT team manages it, and you’ll get exclusive access and tighter control.
The Risks of Cloud Computing
There are many benefits to cloud computing, but there are also some disadvantages to consider. The implementation of cloud technology requires extensive employee training, as well as the establishment of a troubleshooting system. Cloud computing also comes with certain security risks, such as unauthorized access to sensitive data.
How the Cloud Keeps Your Data Safe
To stay safe in the cloud, you’ll need to find the right vendor and implement data encryption and identity verification technology. Data should be encrypted when it enters the cloud, while it’s there, and as it leaves. Data loss prevention tools ensure the security of your data during transport. Why not enroll yourself on a data protection course?
Signing on With a Cloud Provider
Don’t sign up with a cloud provider without doing your research. Use the CAIQ (Consensus Assessment Initiative Questionnaire); it gives you a list of questions to ask a potential service provider. Ensure that the company has and uses the right security measures, and ask if they list this information on the STAR (Security, Trust and Assurance Registry). When signing on with a provider, ensure that the contract includes the right security language, as well as a service level agreement.
As convenient as cloud computing is, it doesn’t always work out. If your provider/client relationship fails, be sure to have a back-out plan in place. Don’t store or digitize anything you’re afraid of losing, and always have a backup for the most sensitive data.
Cloud computing offers small and medium enterprises a way to access data and applications anywhere, at any time. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, and choosing the right provider, you can put the power of the cloud to work for your business.