How Do I Know If My Data Is Safe In The Cloud?Whether you’re talking with a doctor, a lawyer or a landlord, when it comes to cloud computing, many business people ask the same question: “How safe is it to store my data in the cloud?” They want a simple answer, but the question is entirely relative. To evaluate the safety of cloud computing in a meaningful way, it’s important to consider the kind of protection you require, and assess how vulnerable your data currently is compared to storing it in the cloud.
- Define your security needs: The first question to ask is, “What do you mean by ‘safe?’” While small businesses differ, they generally want to protect their data from unauthorized access by a hacker or another third party, and from accidental loss due to human error, technical failure or natural disaster. Some industries, such as medicine, finance and law, must meet stringent additional regulations for information security. By clarifying your security goals, you can better evaluate your options.
- Evaluate your current data security: When SMBs want to know how safe their data is in the cloud, it’s helpful to take a step back and compare it to other storage options, such as paper copies in a filing cabinet or an on-site hard drive backup. Whether you keep physical or digital files in your office, consider who has access to it, and what’s protecting it from accidental loss or unauthorized access. Often there’s little to no safeguards.
- Evaluate the security of cloud storage providers: When vetting cloud service providers, start by asking for any whitepapers and their security policy, which should outline how they protect your data. Features to look for include automatic encryption, redundant servers (multiple copies at different locations) and power backups — such as generators and batteries — in case of an electrical outage.
- Consider a two-part solution: A good option for many businesses is to have an external hard drive on site in addition to an automatic cloud backup. This provides an additional layer of protection against data loss and provides added convenience for data recovery.
Often, cloud computing isn’t really a security concern for small businesses. What they’re really worried about is a loss of control. If a person can’t see where their data is being physically stored, they may not trust it the same way. Is the cloud safe? Oftentimes, using a cloud service is safer than storing your files in your office – especially if you forget to lock your office door or don’t secure your files within your office.
We’d like to hear your perspective on this issue. What does security mean to you and your business? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
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