In the days before “cloud”, most businesses would have their servers, data and computers all local and managed through a consultant or internal IT teams.
Today with the cloud, often the business owners cannot see, touch or ‘feel’ their computer data, hence its natural to be more cautious about security when you feel that you don’t have it in your own possession.
Which brings us to cloud security. How does it compare to the traditional methods of storing everything in a server you control in your office?
Well lets begin by identifying the challenges most businesses face when their servers and data remain within their office:
- Flood, fire & theft risks – all the physical aspects of data loss must be managed by the business themselves when your server is onsite in your office. During the Brisbane floods of 2011, we saw many businesses who were not using the cloud or related data centre hosting, suffer from downtime and data loss.
- Internet firewall security – most businesses do not realise that the only line of defence between a hacker entering their system is their modem router device, with its inbuilt firewall, which is often never updated. This is in comparison to a proper cloud environment, which has multiple levels of firewalls across the data centres, constant around-the-cloud monitoring, plus the defence mechanisms are kept up to date with new firewall rules updated as such become available.
- Backups and Disaster Recovery – by leveraging the cloud smarts, its often much quicker, cheaper and easier to take an entire business ‘snapshot’ of the data. This means in the event of a security breach, it is often possible to restore quickly to a recent snapshot to mitigate downtime and data loss.
- External device data control – items such as USB drives, CD’s, etc, can easily be used to copy data and export information away from your office when you have servers onsite. Whereas with cloud, it is possible to disable USB access and due to the physical limitations of not being able to physically access the server (unless a client of course asks for such), the risk of rogue employees ‘stealing data’ is heavily mitigated.
What’s the biggest cost to most business? Staff right? Well that should be the number one focus for most businesses……ie, finding ways to get the most out of their human resources capital!
Over the recent months I’ve met with a number of business owners who continue to dismiss technology as a way to genuinely help their people and in turn their businesses succeed.
Here’s two quick wins you can implement in your business to help offer more to your staff and in return expect positive results for your business:
1. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Many staff are used to their own smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc, and often would rather continue to use what they know and are proficient in. Thus embracing BYOD will enable you to let them use what they know best and in turn, get more out of their chosen device. Some of our clients have reduced capex hardware investment and instead now offer a tech fund to each employee each year, so they can buy whatever they like……so long as its compatible with the office technology ecosystem of course. As a business owner, you then don’t have to worry about investing into costly technology hardware that is constantly ageing and not looked after as well as someone would if it was their own!
2. Remote Access (virtual cloud desktops) – work anytime, anywhere, with any device!
By offering your staff the ability to work from home (or anywhere with an internet connection in fact), they can manage the work/life balance if the right technology is in place to monitor, control the data and ensure correct security is maintained. With the right upload speeds, secure platforms and software (all achieved quite easily and quickly through a genuine cloud service provider), you too can offer the ability for your staff to work anytime, anywhere and not be restricted by sick family members, etc, taking time away from your people having to be in the office to remain productive.
I’m proud to announce that my fantastic software development team has just launched a new cloud service designed for small businesses with between 1 and 30 users. Its called AppsUnite!
Do have a look at the AppsUnite website here for more information. For only $4.95 per user per month you can get your business onto the cloud!
Essentially we created this cloud file storage and app delivery service out of feedback from current clients and the many requests we’ve had from people this year, asking about what apps they should be using for their business and more importantly how they can control their precious business data in a controlled environment (unlike DropBox which does not allow a business owner to completely control their data across a number of devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc).
We’re evolving this product every week, so please provide feedback to our developers so they can continue to enhance AppsUnite for you.