Many small businesses are looking to adopt cloud systems, but often have concerns about what the cloud is and how it works. Don’t let the common fears stop your businesses making use of these technologies, more often than not the positives will far outweigh the negatives and you might take a competitive advantage over your direct competitors by using them.
1. Is my data safe?
Simply ask people within a company “do you have bars on your windows?” – 99% will answer “no”. Then, ask if the servers are locked away in a secure room. This typically ends in the realisation that most small companies have very little physical security in place for their equipment. This equipment is vulnerable to theft or tampering.
Cloud computing is typically provided via a datacentre environment which normally includes 24/7 security. This security includes access control authentication to gain entry to the building. In addition data is encrypted and is backed up a number of times a day.
2. Who owns my data?
The answer should always be “you do”. Make sure your service provider is clear on this. Just because your data is located away offsite on somebody else’s equipment doesn’t mean it is theirs to do with as they please. Check exit charges and how helpful they will be if you decide to move on, we have had occasional bad experiences with providers being unhelpful when a client decides to move on.
3. What about my internet connection and what if it goes down?
Many businesses try and run their operations via consumer internet connections. These typically don’t provide the service levels required.
Wherever possible, businesses should try to use business-class high speed connections that will provide the back-end services needed for reliability. If in doubt about what you should use, speak to your IT provider – they should provide clear details of what is available and the benefits and costs. Don’t forget backup lines – they are worth considering but do come at an additional cost. Weigh up the costs of lost business if the main connection goes down and consider the real-world scenarios.
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