Today, the cloud is unavoidable. Although still evolving, these virtual services are critical for many – from large corporations to individuals. Cloud computing is nothing new and has existed since the internet was developed but has only increased in importance over time. A study by the Cloud Security Alliance shows that 33% of organizations are “full steam ahead” when it comes to using cloud services and 86% spend at least part of their IT budget on the cloud.
Let’s start with the basics, what exactly is the cloud? Simply put, it’s a network of servers that deliver information and applications over the internet. For example, instead of downloading accounting software on a desktop, the same application can be accessed from the cloud, saving computer resources and money in the process. File storage, email, and website hosting are some of the most commonly used virtual programs.
Why the Cloud?
For SMBs in particular, the cloud gives businesses access to services and capabilities that otherwise would be beyond their means. Let’s take a look at the different benefits these applications offer.
Mobility: The cloud enables users to have access to business data and applications from anywhere at any time on any device. With many organizations moving away from the traditional workspace, allowing employees to access work materials remotely is ideal.
Cost Savings: With the cloud you can easily consolidate separate applications into one multi-application computing service. Having all these resources hosted in a virtual environment allows users to complete tasks with relatively little investment — no need to buy software or pay for someone to install it.
Scalability: Not every organization has the same needs. The cloud makes it quick and easy to scale up or down based on demand. For small businesses that hope to grow in the future, this level of agility allows for big changes without big investments in the physical infrastructure.
Usability: Since there is no need for complicated installation services such as buying a server, getting it up and running and installing the software, users can gain access to their applications quite quickly.
Managing the Cloud
Something to keep in mind when moving to cloud-based services is the additional IT infrastructure it demands. To ensure a safe cyber environment and high performance, consider implementing the following:
- Encryption: Storing and processing data in the cloud is one step removed from your physical control. Encrypt as much of that information as possible to add another layer of protection. This is especially pertinent for businesses that hold sensitive customer information or confidential data.
- Two-Factor Authentication & Limited Usage: When it comes to sensitive information, whether customer or business related, organizations should always consider limiting access to specific individuals or giving permission on an as-needed basis. Implementing two-factor authentication rather than relying on passwords that are often shared or stolen is also a must. The last thing any organization needs is confidential information in the wrong hands.
- Vulnerability Testing: Companies need to monitor physical servers for susceptibilities, malware, and data leaks, so it’s only natural to do the same for their virtual versions.
- Compliance: When you’re considering adding the cloud to your organization’s repertoire, be aware of the laws and regulations that affect the storage of data in your industry. For example, in the health care industry, HIPAA regulates the protection and sharing of patient records.
When it comes to cybersecurity and anything on the web, a single line of defense is never enough, especially with today’s sophisticated threat landscape.
Often, when the popularity of a certain technology is growing, we get caught up in the hype and forget about the value of safeguards. How it is secured is just as important as the service itself.
Make sure your organization is using the finest cloud technologies and has the best experts supporting those services. Contact the team at Netzbahn to learn more about your virtual options and management methods.