About 90% of enterprises in the US have moved to the cloud, and 52% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use the cloud for data storage. There’s no denying that storing information in the cloud has its benefits. After all, companies no longer have to invest in:
- Big servers
- Large infrastructures
- IT staff
They can just get space with a cloud service provider like Amazon, and work on a flexible pay-as-you-go model. But, many companies still have mixed feelings about cloud security.
The fact is – a cloud space can prove to be a secure outlet for storing data, as long as you know what you are looking for when it comes to security.
Five Reasons Why Cloud Security is Important for SMBs
1. Security Breaches Are Always Big News
Not many news outlets will publish stories about how secure a company’s cloud infrastructure is, but the minute that company faces a security breach, the story also hits headlines.
In fact, security breaches have increased exponentially over the last few years, and they’ve been nothing but scary.
Linkedin recently came clean about their 2012 security breach.
In 2012, it was revealed that hackers had stolen 6.7 million encrypted passwords, but the situation turned out to be much worse, with a Russian hacker selling 167 million Linkedin emails and passwords online.
Apart from that incident, there have been several other security breaches including:
Even a small security breach can gravely affect a company’s reputation. That is why it’s become imperative to take cloud security seriously.
2. All Service Providers Aren’t Equal
Just because all cloud service providers try to keep data safe, doesn’t mean they are all equally secure.
With different budgets and specifications, each cloud service provider has a different flexibility level, when incorporating the needs of an SMB.
Another significant difference is the way they handle support processes. While some cloud providers have IT staff or support teams, others use third-party providers to take care of security monitoring.
Many cloud vendors may also expect an SMB’s in-house IT staff to take some responsibility for the company’s cloud network.
But cloud computing is such a new and vast form of storage technology; that in-house teams might not have the right expertise or knowledge to manage a big cloud storage network.
Therefore, it’s essential to hire a cloud service provider who can provide a fully experienced team to monitor cloud security.
3. Know Where Your Data is Stored
Saying our company data is stored ‘in the cloud’ is no way to convince yourself, or your customers.
An SMB should be aware of exactly where a cloud service provider is storing their data, and how it is separated from other data.
Different countries have different regulations when it comes to data stored in the cloud. While governments in countries like the US can access any cloud data, many European countries provide full privacy.
Choosing the right location will depend on many factors, but the most important factor that an SMB should be aware of is compliances.
4. Security Roles Should be Clearly Defined
The cloud makes it easier for employees to access data, but at the same time, it’s important to define which employees get access to what data.
To better define security roles and access, data entry can be sub-divided into several levels. For instance, it can be accessible to all employees, whereas sensitive data is kept strictly available to only certain employees.
Also, it’s important to make sure all sensitive data is encrypted. To define different security roles, a service level agreement (SLA) should be established between the SMB and cloud service provider.
5. Backing up Data is Just as Important
The unexpected can and will happen; it’s like karma or something, and a company could end up losing data stored in the cloud.
That’s why it is important to secure cloud data by backing it up. A backup should include saving duplicate data to different physical locations, which can prove to be essential if there’s damage to the primary site — or in the case of any natural disasters.
SMBs should also have quick recovery plans in place, for when an accident does happen. Both complete and partial recovery plans should be sketched out in advance, so that even if a bit of data gets lost, it can quickly be restored without affecting work or burning the bottom line.
Given the flexibility and ease-of-use cloud services provide, there is a chance users might think the cloud is not secure at all. In fact, the threat of losing data can prove to be quite frightening for SMBs– and rightfully so, it burns money and renders efforts impotent.
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The reasons mentioned above about why online security is critical for SMBs clearly proves the cloud has been designed to address safety issues at its core, and it’s much securer than local storage.
It’s all about utilizing the cloud’s capabilities in the best way possible.
Thanks for joining me on today’s article till the end. I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter of SMB cloud storage in the comment section below–so don’t forget to leave them!