Cyber series cyber security and the cloud

Storing your documents and data in the cloud can provide a cost-effective solution for most SMEs but it is worth doing your homework before choosing a provider.

Businesses across the UK must become more vigilant when it comes to protecting their data. However, it is also important to recognise that most companies simply cannot afford to invest in the resources required to provide round the clock online security.

The Benefits

A cost-effective solution is to store your information in the cloud. Tech giants including Google, Microsoft and Dropbox all offer cloud computing services which allow you to store your documents and data at a fraction of the cost it would take to host that information on your own servers.

Barnaby Voss is Google Cloud’s head of marketing for the UK and Ireland and says, “You should focus on what’s best for your business. What are you strongest at? And for most businesses, their strength isn’t tech infrastructure or IT. They may be wonderful at sales, retail or understanding their customer and you should focus on your core strength. When it isn’t your core strength you should find somebody who is (an expert).”

On the issue of online security, Voss adds that even a medium-sized business might only have one or two people who look after IT whereas Google employs a small army of more than 800 full-time security engineers.

“Businesses and business leaders are understandably reticent when it comes to changing infrastructure. You may be happy with how things are working but all this work can be done in the background without having to worry about it.”

Risk Assessment

But before considering which cloud service provider might offer the best deal, you should also take a risk assessment. Just because your data is stored by a big organisation does not necessarily mean it will accept liability and legal costs if your data is lost or hacked.

You should not abdicate all responsibility to the cloud service provider especially when it comes to protecting documents that could include highly sensitive information.

There are other legal issues that are often overlooked but can have serious implications when it comes to storing important company data in the cloud.

This note of caution comes courtesy of Beat Buhlmann who is the EMEA General Manager of Evernote – a cross-platform app designed for notetaking, organising and archiving.

He says, “A lot of people use private tools like Gmail, private Dropbox, private Evernote and they store company data in the private cloud because it’s easy for them to work and get work done.

“But think about the issue that if you leave the company – your company data and the company’s client data is still in your private cloud, which is illegal.

“The company also does something illegal if you sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) which doesn’t allow the company to store client data outside of its premises.

“Most people are not even aware of this, so it’s important to make them aware of what the risk is.”

Three Key Takeaways

  1. The cloud can provide a cheap solution for storing documents and data especially for businesses that don’t specialise in tech or IT.
  2. There are hundreds of cloud service providers out there. Make sure you do your homework before choosing which one is right for the needs of your business.
  3. Check what, if any, liability the cloud service provider will take if it loses your data.

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