Cloud computing could be great for your business, but you need to stay safe
- Cloud computing allows you to access business data wherever there’s an internet connection
- It saves on costs and is a flexible solution for new companies
- Service providers have stringent security measures in place to protect your data
Modern startups demand flexibility and the ability to do business wherever there’s an internet connection. They don’t want to invest heavily in hardware up front and need to be able to expand their data capacity as the business grows.
Cloud computing solutions can meet the data needs of many businesses – and startups have been among the early adopters of the technology.
Put simply, cloud computing for small businesses takes the form of hosting data off-site, which can then be accessed anywhere via an internet connection. There’s no need for a fixed office as you, your staff or a contractor can set up a workstation wherever you choose.
Startups can also handle customer relationship management (CRM) in the cloud, eliminating the need to invest in software before they have clients.
Security fears are an issue for some, however. After all, you’re entrusting your data and your ability to operate to a third party. But cloud computing can actually be more secure for data storage than traditional IT resources.
Any cloud service provider worth its salt will invest heavily in security technology and make the safety of their clients’ data their priority. Cloud computing reduces a business’s dependence on storing confidential information on laptops or USB sticks, minimising the chance of a potentially damaging data breach.
The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has its own certification system whereby cloud service providers sign up to its code of practice. CIF members include industry leaders such as Microsoft, and it’s worth looking for an approved vendor as the market becomes more crowded.
In any case, it’s in the vendor’s interest to enforce data security – they have more riding on their services not being interrupted than any one customer has. And when it comes to downtime, a cloud service provider will almost always fix a problem faster than it would take a call an engineer in to fix a traditional server.
Case study - Joe Walton, Real PR, Glasgow
“About three years ago, we moved from our old office, where we used a traditional on-site server. As the business has two full-time staff and uses a pool of contractors, it made sense to change to a system where company data could be accessed online.
“As a PR company, we need to be able to get hold of images and documents and share them among the team quite quickly. The cloud system we chose gives us the infrastructure to do just that.
“It’s been really helpful when temporary team members come on board. They can get an official email address and access to all the documents via the cloud. The business is not tied to any physical place.
“In three years, I think we’ve had only a morning of downtime, which is pretty good. There’s always going to be a trust issue when hosting your data off-site, but there are ways of keeping local copies if you really want to.”