Securing the Cloud

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Type “secure” and “cloud” into Google and watch the results roll in. This is a hot topic right now, and it is because so many people misunderstand what the cloud is and how to use it safely. One of the best ways to think about the cloud is to envision it as a hard drive that is not in the room with you. You can put anything you want on it and even run programs from it. All you need is Internet access and you can retrieve your data from the cloud.

What The Cloud Is Good For

Not every business needs the cloud but most would find it useful. One of the most basic uses for cloud computing is for backing up important files and having remote access to your data. If you work from home and at an office, putting files on the cloud means you don’t have to lug a computer back and forth. If you work in the field, you can access your data on your smartphone. The convenience is astounding.

Backup is another key use and the cloud makes it nearly painless to do so. There are tons of free services out there that will keep your files up to date and even let you roll back a change if you make a mistake.

Where You Need To Be Careful

Sure, the cloud is convenient and easy to use, but that doesn’t mean it is without its pitfalls. The consumer level products (the free stuff) are very secure – if you make it so. Are you using the same ID and password from your Facebook account? Do you have one password for all your different accounts? More to the point, have you given your access information to an employee so that they could access the cloud? All of these can get you into trouble.

At the very least, you need to be smart about your password and ID for your business cloud account. Make sure it is absolutely unique. Better still, if you have employees that might need access, look into business solutions for cloud computing. These will provide unique passwords and IDs to different people so that you can set their level of access. If they end up moving on to a different job, you simply deactivate their account rather than having to change all your personal settings.

What Really Needs To Be On The Cloud?

Before you move anything to the cloud, think about what is important. Do you really need to have fifteen years worth of data on the cloud or is the last few years enough? Cloud computing can be very powerful but it can also be expensive. Only put on the cloud the information you really need to have backed up and/or need access to regularly.

Cloud backups are great but they are much better when they are paired with a physical backup. If the data is important enough to be backed up on the cloud, you should probably keep a portable drive with a second (or even third) backup on it. You may only do this backup occasionally (monthly perhaps) but having it around can be a huge help. This is also a great reason to make sure that not only is your cloud secure, but your business is as well. With new viruses popping up that hold your data hostage, sometimes the only solution (other than paying off the criminals) is a backup drive that wasn’t connected to your computer at the time of infection.

To ensure that your business security plan covers not only physical threats but data threats also, invest the time to understand and secure cloud storage.

Tiffany McDonald headshot v2Tiffany McDonald is a mom, wife, wino, Internet addict and intimately concerned with her family’s safety and security. She currently represents a local alarm company; Safe Choice Security. She has a 20 year old step-daughter, 7 year old son, 85lb dog and what she likes to call her “future Youtube famous” cat named Taco Enchilada. If you don’t see her on social media for a day or two; call the cops.

Follow her on Twitter or G+ and she’ll return the favor!

Oh, and for a grown-up view; check out Linkedin!

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