Cloud computing has been a hot topic in the world of technology for a while now, and with good reason. The cloud offers a cost-effective alternative for smaller businesses looking to take advantage of new technology and can improve the way current technology operates. But when a network of IoT (Internet of Things) gadgets like routers, DVRs, and closed-circuit TVs can take down hardened, well-provisioned Internet giants like Twitter, Spotify, and Amazon – as happened last October – you’ve got to think twice before moving your data to the cloud.
Yes, a move to the cloud can yield significant payoffs regarding cost savings, increased efficiency, greater flexibility, better collaboration for your workforce, and more. Yet there is a dark side. It would be naive to think otherwise. Your choices about whether and how to use cloud technology in your network merit serious consideration.
So, just what is “the cloud”?
Instead of always buying new equipment and software, cloud computing allows you to pay for only what you need. Just as with a utility company, you get software and storage on a monthly basis, with no long-term contracts. Chances are, most of the software you now use is cloud-based. You simply access it on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Similarly, you can store data in the cloud, where it can be easily accessed when you need it. This reduces the need to buy and manage your own backup gear and software, thus reducing overhead. Yet, as with any major decision, it’s critical to be aware of both the benefits and pitfalls of putting your company’s data in the cloud.
There are three significant advantages offered by cloud computing:
While the cloud offers obvious benefits, it also increases your company’s potential “attack surface” for cyber criminals. By spreading your communications and access to data beyond a safe “firewall,” your network is far more exposed to a whole bevy of security concerns. Many of them can be addressed with these three best practices:
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