TMCnet Feature
September 21, 2022

Is the Cloud Safe for Small Businesses?



Remote data access and storage. This is what comes to mind when we talk about the cloud. While gaining popularity among small businesses in the past few years, the cloud has proved its benefits. Whether you’re a startup or a medium-sized business that has had its fair share of experiences in different security practices, everyone needs to understand the modern that we use today.



One thing’s clear, it’s essential to choose how you store your data. Not only it’s a legal and ethical requirement, but also a standard security practice that helps prevent data breaches and other unwanted losses. So the main question is – how secure is the cloud? In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using the cloud as a small business.

What is Cloud Storage?

So what exactly is cloud storage? “The cloud” describes different servers that you can access on the internet, including the software and other databases that are part of those servers. Data centers are used to locate cloud servers, which leads us to cloud computing. Businesses don’t need to manage physical servers on their own anymore, as the cloud enables them to access the files that are on the cloud anywhere, anytime. The same goes for software applications, as they run on their own machines.

Thanks to the cloud, you can access applications and files using any device, as the computing and storage occur on servers in a specified data center instead of happening on a single user’s device. In other words, this is the reason why you can log in to your Twitter (News - Alert) account on a new device and still find your original profile in place: with all the tweets, conversations, photos, etc.

The cloud allows you to forget about physical hard drives in your office. As long as you can connect to the internet, you can access the data server and all of the needed files on it. The cloud works similarly to many email providers, like Gmail, as well as cloud storage solutions, such as Google (News - Alert) Drive. Small businesses use the cloud mainly due to the convenience factor, as many people in the organization can share the cloud and easily access information if needed.

How Do Businesses Use the Cloud?

Businesses use the cloud for several reasons, one of them being better insight opportunities. When you generate huge amounts of data on a daily bases, or, as we call it, big data, you can use the cloud to deliver valuable insights. The cloud can be an alternative to complex manual data research. Organizations that use on-premise storage systems can’t keep up with high-volume data.

According to recent research, 79% of businesses agree to the fact that organizations that don’t use big data methods are more likely to go bankrupt. That makes such businesses lose an important competitive advantage when it comes to cost-effective ways of data processing. For this reason, businesses that empower the cloud and its technology can share information more efficiently, at the same time, prevent errors and improve decision-making.

Currently, there are three main options for storing information on the cloud:

  • Using a public cloud. That means the cloud is operated by a third party. In this case, you aren’t responsible for storing the data. The cloud’s host's duty is to keep the network secure by creating an interface for access.
  • Using a private cloud. In this scenario, your own responsibility is to store information in the cloud. As a private cloud manager, you allow or restrict access to the online network, ensuring that the server and its data are protected.
  • Using a hybrid cloud. Naturally, a hybrid version of the cloud deploys both public and private cloud models. For example, a business can use its private cloud for some services and its public cloud for others.

The best thing about the cloud is its flexible nature. If you’re a small business, you can use the technology in many different ways, including data sharing, remote working, information backup, and more. That said, it’s safe to say that the cloud is a highly adaptable technology that can be useful in various industries.

How Secure is the Cloud?

If you run a private cloud, that means you have more control over the data that you store. Despite that, small businesses need to take into account the responsibility that comes with a private cloud. Think about all of the business partners, your staff, and customers. All of the data related to you and your business needs to be safeguarded 24/7. Also, let’s not forget public clouds. If you’re relying on a public service provider, keep in mind that you’re not the only organization doing so.

For this reason, public clouds have higher chances of becoming targets, which describes the main disadvantage of cloud computing: the possibility of experiencing cyberattacks and security breaches. Online criminals are interested in stealing customers’ data. Small businesses are perfect targets sometimes due to the lack of security measures and a lower budget for safer cloud options. As a responsible business, you need to protect your data with a cloud-based antivirus service. Visit iDenfy to learn more about data privacy and AI-powered cybersecurity solutions.

A popular technique that cybercriminals use to breach the cloud is by trying to shake up the cloud’s remote nature. For instance, bad actors seek to exploit Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. Such policies define the access of personal devices and how the staff uses them to store, send and access data. Typically, businesses employ fewer security measures for home laptops. In addition, such devices are sometimes used in public, which means public WiFi (News - Alert) and higher chances of security breaches. To avoid slip-ups, make sure to keep all business network devices secured.

Key Takeaways: the Pros and Cons

Like many technological solutions, the cloud has its unique benefits and disadvantages. To sum up the widely discussed topic, we’ve prepared a short key takeaway list:

Benefits

  • The cloud runs your small business more efficiently due to automation.
  • The cloud can help your business grow and scale easier.
  • The cloud backs up your files, keeping your information safe.
  • The cloud enables remote working, allowing your staff to access files from different locations.

Disadvantages

  • There’s a possibility of security issues, especially with public clouds being the targets of bad actors.
  • Some cloud providers are costly, charging an additional fee each month.
  • There’s an overwhelming amount of cloud service providers, which makes it challenging for businesses to choose the right one.

Final Thoughts

Traditional data storage ways are taking a step back. Small businesses are choosing the cloud for a reason. Even though this technology has its drawbacks, it’s safe to say that its benefits outweigh the cons. Having a strong and secure cloud system, your business can grow quicker. Remember, no matter what cloud provider you choose, it’s essential to secure all of your network’s devices to ensure maximum security.

By Domantas Ciulde

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Domantas is a true technology geek at heart. Throughout his years as a fintech startup CEO, he gathered a fair share of industry knowledge. Now, he likes to write about it and share his thoughts with others.



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