So, after years of talking about it and thinking about it, you’ve finally decided to switch some of your business applications over to the cloud. Congratulations! This is an exciting move that offers a lot of potential benefits, which is why CompTIA reports that 75% of SMBs have at least 1 year of experience using cloud solutions.
However, before you start using your chosen cloud application, you’ll want to make sure you read the fine print– specifically the fine print that has to do with data security and backup.
Don’t have time to read the fine print right now? Tried to read the fine print but the legalese and tech-speak was too dense for you to comprehend? That’s actually a big problem. It’s important to go over that paperwork carefully because you may be in for a few surprises.
These days, it seems like every business software company offers their own version of common solutions, such as invoicing or CRM (customer relationship management) software, and there are so many cloud-based file storage and marketing options out there that sorting through them all can become a daunting prospect.
Since there are so many solutions, many business leaders make the mistake of judging seemingly similar cloud products based on price or customer reviews.
This is a mistake you don’t want to make.
Remember: Cloud service providers are, above all else, service providers.
Just like the traditional service providers you’ve dealt with for years, cloud providers differentiate based on the level of service they offer. A snazzy, new website design may not mean that the provider answers the phone – and it also may not mean that they use modern tools to keep your data safe.
Now that you know how important it is to read your cloud provider’s agreement, you should know what to look for. Common problem areas include:
If you’re in a highly regulated industry, you probably already checked to make sure that your chosen business solutions and service providers meet your compliance requirements. However, in case you didn’t check all that… this is your friendly reminder.
A good cloud provider will house your data in data centers manned with security guards to protect the equipment, but they won’t necessarily secure your data. That’s your job.
In short, your cloud data is accessible to anyone with the right login credentials, which is why you have to focus so carefully on providing rock-solid protection for your networks and devices using two-factor authentication and keeping your passwords fully unique. (If you have a hard time remembering all those unique passwords, a password management tool like Dashlane can help.)
Typically, cloud providers back up your data and replicate it across a few servers to keep you covered in the event of service outages, but that doesn’t mean they can restore a specific piece of data you’ve lost. Their guarantee ensures that your current data is available when you need it, but they won’t recover a file you’ve mistakenly deleted, and they probably won’t be able to help you if you get hit with ransomware.
What we’re saying is that, with cloud services, it’s still your job to pay attention to backups.
Making duplicate backups of your cloud data isn’t difficult if you use a cloud-to-cloud backup system like Datto Backupify – but you’ll want to make sure you have those backups in place right now, so you can recover individual pieces of data as they existed at a specific point of time in the past.
Now, we just want to clarify: this article wasn’t meant to worry you. Your decision to move to a cloud service is a great idea because cloud really is the future. This change will supercharge your business with more agility, real-time capabilities, and all those on-the-go conveniences you want. It really is a great move.
But you need to remember that “the cloud” is still simply an IT system, and it comes with its own set of odd IT quirks. Contrary to what you may have heard, the cloud is not a silver bullet that takes care of all your backups and security for you, it simply introduces different IT challenges than your in-office servers do.
With the cloud, your systems certainly become more secure— more resilient to attack or natural disaster —but the cloud places your data onto a bigger hacking target (the internet), so you have to make sure you have processes in place to manage all the disparate piles of information. That way, you can keep your data locked down.
If you’re placing your data onto a cloud app and want help maintaining backups, monitoring data security, and ensuring compliance mandates, consider asking your managed IT services provider (MSP) for help securing your cloud data.
Though not all cloud apps are available for routine backup and maintenance, a managed IT services provider can usually help you understand and negotiate your cloud vendor’s agreements and can also reduce the headache of license management.
MSPs can also help you educate your staff about phishing and other commonly used hacking techniques that could compromise your cloud app login credentials. In addition, they can provide ‘round-the-clock monitoring that assists you in identifying and eradicating malware in your system that could spy on your workers and steal their cloud login credentials.
Interplay has been helping Seattle’s SMBs securely protect their data, both online and offline, since 2001. In addition to providing remote monitoring and IT management services, Interplay offers hands-on IT support from friendly techs right here in Seattle and can help your company avoid known security hazards with spam blockers and email encryption tools.