The Cloud. Is it Secure?
Over the last several weeks we have addressed several issues faced by "Same Way Sal" and small business owners like him. Today we are going to discuss the fears a lot of small business owners have about using the cloud and why they might be unfounded.
What is the Cloud?
Most individuals don't completely understand what the cloud is, which leads them to be afraid of it. The Cloud is simply a large complexed group of computers which are connected to each other and the internet and reachable by those with the appropriate web address and login. Some example of cloud applications are Google drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Gmail. There are many other applications which use the cloud. Any application you reach through your web browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) are run on the cloud.
For a more thorough definition check out this article.
Is the Cloud Secure?
As with most things you can't make a blanket statement about the security or insecurity of the cloud. Not all cloud applications are created equal. As a business owner, it behooves you to do some research on any cloud application you use. Looking to ensure they have the proper security certifications for their product. Also, remember there is a large difference between cloud applications for businesses and them for consumers. Businesses spend large amounts of money on their cloud applications, so it is to the benefit of providers like Google and Microsoft to make sure the business versions of these applications meet their clients needs better than the consumer versions.
Two main issues to take into account when talking about cyber security.
- The Physical Security of the Hardware / Servers
- The Digital Security of the Information
Most small business owners think of physical security as making sure they lock up before they leave for the day. But businesses like Google and Microsoft take physical security to a whole new level. They all have specially built facilities to house the servers they run. These facilities are designed to keep people out. They all have 24/7/365 security staff, and the facilities are not open to the public. To enter any facility, you must pass a two-factor authentication process.
Not only are they hard to get into but they are setup for disaster recovery as well. Google and Microsoft all have measures in place to seamlessly keep their cloud up and running if there is a natural disaster or power outage.
So the question you need to ask yourself as a small business owner is this
Do you have the funds to build a facility specifically to house your businesses information? Not only that but to have it protected in case of a natural disaster.
Digital security is a more exciting topic for me. When people ask if the cloud is secure, my first response is to ask them a question. Do you have a highly skilled team of cyber security professional? The answer is always no. My response is Google and Microsoft do.
But besides the team of highly skilled staff Google, Amazon, and Microsoft also implement the latest in best practices for cyber security. Their products have cyber security certifications from third parties and are audit periodically.
Cyber security is very important to them because if they don't get it right, they could easily lose their clients to competitors. It is to their benefit to have the safest and most secure data.
Ask yourself do you have the time and energy to implement cyber security best practices? Do you know what encryption is and how to use it? Google and Microsoft do and have a team to keep everything up to date.
In the age of the internet and internet connected things cyber security will continue to be a risk. The question is will you try to navigate the risks on your own or will you trust the experts to help your data secure.
If you have any question about the cloud products, we use here at Walston Advisor Firm and how we implement them, let us know.