Cloud storage is becoming more and more popular, but many people still aren’t familiar with its basic concepts. While it offers an unprecedented degree of convenience, the cloud can also be a hindrance to those who don’t know how it works. With that in mind, let’s go over a few basic questions on the subject of cloud storage.
Is The Cloud More Secure?
The cloud has several important security benefits, both for businesses and individuals. The first of these is data backup. When something is saved to the cloud, it functions as a reliable backup because it’s not a part of the host system. Thus, if something should go wrong with the host system, the cloud data is unaffected.
There have been instances in which companies were able to use this advantage to negate or reduce the impact of ransomware. However, you should be aware that some hackers will attempt to target your backups as well.
When it comes to physical security, the cloud is a much better option. Your data will be stored on heavily-guarded servers (if you pick a responsible company) where a physical intruder will have a very hard time gaining access. At the same time, you should be aware that your non-physical (i.e., network) security will mainly depend on your ability to configure the cloud properly. In the end, the security of the cloud depends on the competency of those running and using its services.
How Big Is The Cloud?
The answer to this question will vary from one service provider to the next. Also, most service providers will have more than one plan from which you can choose. As such, you can choose the amount of storage that suits your needs. If you run out of space, you can simply purchase more. That might sound like an expensive proposition, but it’s actually a lot cheaper than purchasing a whole room full of extra hard drives. In the end, the only real limit to the size of the cloud is the capacity of the cloud provider’s servers.
Should I Store Very Sensitive Data To The Cloud?
In most cases, the answer is no. Although the cloud does provide an extra layer of security, that layer is not necessarily impenetrable. Cloud providers have been hacked before, so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The bottom line is this: Any computer which is connected to the internet has the potential to be hacked.
So, what should you do with your most sensitive data? The obvious answer is offline storage, preferably in two different places. It is normally safe to upload sensitive data to the cloud, but anything that might be considered a top-level secret should never be put into the cloud. Personal details about your customers, medical records, tax records, and bank records are all examples of things that are just too sensitive to be stored in the cloud.
Will The Cloud Save Money For My Business?
Most companies that switch to cloud computing will find that it saves them a little money. In some cases, it may even save them a whole bunch. To find out how much you are likely to save, simply look at the annual budget for your IT department (if you have one). If you don’t have an in-house IT department, you can look at numbers from other companies in your industry.
Once you have that figure, you will figure out the estimated annual cost of cloud services. Just take their monthly rate and multiply it by 12, and compare that to the annual IT budget. Even if you take the issue of productivity out of the picture, most people will save money with the cloud. Naturally, companies with big IT departments and a lot of issues will find that they can save all kinds of cash here.
On this subject, we should probably talk about network downtime. When you are conducting business online (as most people do these days), connection issues translate to lost revenue. When the cloud is out of commission for days or even weeks, the financial losses can be staggering. As such, a poor-quality cloud provider can actually become more expensive in the long run.
What Is An SLA?
This is a term that is likely to pop up when you are purchasing cloud services. It is essentially just an agreement between you and your cloud provider. It spells out the terms and duration of the services provided. Like any contract, it must be read and thoroughly analyzed before being signed. Many providers will try and pressure you to sign quickly, but don’t fall for that old trick.
When negotiating a good SLA (which stands for “Service-Level Agreement,” by the way), you should look for certain “red flags.” The biggest of these would be a contract in which the provider gets full access to your data. Even if you trust that company in general, you can’t necessarily trust everyone who works for them.
Another common red flag is a provision that allows the provider to raise your rates at will. Obviously, you need something in which the rights and responsibilities of both parties are laid out plainly. Finally, you need to make sure that your data will not be retained by the company in the event that you choose to terminate the service. Make sure they understand that you are willing to take them to court on this matter if need be. You probably won’t have to do that, but it’s good to let them know you are serious.
Obviously, this short article will not provide everything you need to know about the cloud. As such, we encourage you to use this article as a roadmap for future research. It is very important to go into this transition with your eyes open, having full knowledge of both the pros and the cons. If we have given you a good start, you can thank us by filling out the contact form.