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Should You Use the Cloud? Talking Security

By: Cara Aley


Every business is trying to save money these days. One obvious solution for doing so is in the cost savings seen by using cloud storage. With the expense of IT professionals, servers, and other internal storage and hosting solutions being far more than that of storing your data in the cloud, many small businesses are turning to this option.

The question is, is it a truly secure option for your business’s data?
If you ask the CSA (Cloud Security Alliance), there are nine major threats to cloud computing. The top two are data breaches and then the potential disappearance of valuable data, which can have a legal impact on a business if the data is private customer information. Both of these top threats would be the result of malicious hackers, but according to some top security analysts, the right security measures are in place to ward off most of these threats. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of breaches happen when data is not in the cloud.
As reported on Bloomberg.com, “‘I’ve been looking for it, but I can’t find any real evidence that the cloud is more risky than hosting everything completely internal,’ said Wade Baker, managing principal of Verizon’s RISK group, which investigates breaches.” Verizon owns Terremark, a known cloud provider. Apparently 80% of the security breaches Verizon looked into in 2012 involved data that was hosted internally, not in the cloud.
The fact is, businesses are really working to get their heads around being in the cloud, mostly because of the cost savings they see in utilizing it. Small businesses that don’t have the money to have data centers of their own are those taking the most of advantage of the cloud.
PC World reported on a Poneman Institute survey of 4,205 small businesses and IT managers concluded that 53% of them were sending sensitive data to the cloud, but were also nervous about doing so. PC World’s Yardena Arar says that Richard Moulds, VP of Strategy for Thales e-Security, indicated that “once data leaves the premises…businesses have little way of knowing how the encryption is managed. Small businesses in particular face increased security risks because their data is often kept on servers that host multiple customers.” So making sure that your most sensitive data is encrypted is a worthwhile expense.
When it comes to the best business cloud storage solutions Zoolz and OpenDrive got the highest rankings of all by TopTenReviews, particularly from a security standpoint. Not only can you store an unlimited amount of data with both services for an annual fee, but both come with encrypted storage, multi-level encryption, redundant storage, password protected sharing, and a security score of 95 or higher (Open Drive’s security score is 100!).
The fact is this: Regardless of where your data is hosted, it is at risk to some extent. So make sure if you are using the cloud, that not only are you with a reputable service, but also that you have cyber liability insurance. Your general liability policy won’t cover a cyberattack, but for a relatively low premium cost, you can get strong coverage.
According to Minda Zetlin of Inc.com, “Many policies offer ‘first party’ coverage—that is, they will pay you for things like business interruption, the cost of notifying customers of a breach, and even the expense of hiring a public relations firm to repair any damage done to your image as a result of a cyberattack.”
If you are a small business, the likelihood is high that you can’t afford not to use the cloud (and the majority of small businesses are doing so today). There are definitely risks involved, but the costs associated with not doing so seem to be of even greater concern to small businesses—something that both newbie business owners and industry natives like Marc Shmuger can attest to.
Published: October 22, 2013

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Cara Aley

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics ranging from digital marketing strategy to the life and times of various prominent businesspeople. She ran her own small business for almost three years and now runs operations for a startup with six employees.

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