What is the Cloud?

by | Sep 14, 2020 | Business Solutions, Cloud

4 min read

New advancements in technology are always popping up. These may seem intimidating at first, but learning more about them can put your worries to rest. Maybe you’re hearing about “the cloud” more and more. That’s because it has become a fast-growing asset for companies.

What is the cloud? Simply, the cloud is data storage that is available to users over the internet. This enables people to securely access their data and files from any computer connected to the internet—anywhere, any time.

Some firms have jumped right in and moved all their servers to the cloud and have seen the benefits of lower costs, faster speeds, and greater flexibility. On the other hand, some companies might have lingering compliance concerns when it comes to using the cloud; others are skeptical of the level of cybersecurity offered on the cloud. However, you’ll quickly find that not adopting the cloud and its associated services—at least in part—could have drastic consequences for your business in terms of falling behind competitors. That’s a major risk in a COVID-19 world in which working from home has gained sudden, widespread acceptance.

What’s So Great About It?

Some benefits of switching to the cloud include saving time and money by increasing productivity, improving collaboration, and promoting innovation. With the cloud, businesses can gain access to their information anywhere with any device that is compatible with the cloud. Information will be stored on the internet instead of on your hard drives in the office. Though your data isn’t stored in the office, you can access it as if it were—and everywhere else, besides. This is a godsend when it comes to collaborative remote work. Two people on opposite side of the world can work together on the same project at the same time without problems (except for time zones, maybe).

Some other benefits include less hardware to maintain, more space in the office, reduction in utility costs, reduction in overhead, and an increase in professional support. Some examples of the cloud include Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s OneDrive as well as Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, and Google Cloud. These companies allow you to upload documents, photos, and videos to their data centers so you can take them anywhere without wasting your own device’s storage. Each of these companies also offers a wide array of other enterprise-level services. You can create and deploy virtual machines, SQL databases, and web applications, to name just a few. And since these companies are some of the biggest names in technology, they can deploy a vast amount of expertise and resources and take advantage of huge scaling to keep things running smoothly and securely at the lowest possible price. This is to say nothing of the robust customer service departments standing by 24/7 to assist customers. On their own, small businesses just can’t compete with this. Luckily, they don’t have to.

Businesses are moving their data to the cloud at a record pace, but is it secure and safe to do so? Users of cloud services use a password to protect their data. Cloud storage security vendors use other methods on top of those passwords. These include advanced firewalls, intrusion detection, event logging, internal firewalls, encryption, and physical security in the data centers themselves.

Security breaches are rarely caused by poor data protection. Instead, about 40% of breaches are caused by employee error. This means outside attacks are not as common, so with a bit of employee training, these breeches can be dramatically reduced. One article states, ‘“In general, adhering to good security policies and processes and from those implementing the proper security configurations and controls are the most important thing. If those are not done, it doesn’t matter whether your data is in the cloud or not, since there are very few instances left where data is not accessible from the Internet.” So even if you have great security, human error can still open a path to let hackers in.

Bojana Dobran helps to explain ways to prevent data breaches and lessen user error by utilizing strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and training/educating employees. Strong passwords can prevent attackers from easily guessing them. 2FA then adds a second layer of protection with an added password or security question only you would know. Finally, training employees on how to identify possible attacks will help to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the cloud is expanding and making work life easier for everyone involved, especially now when people are working from home and need their files readily available wherever they are. The cloud isn’t something to be afraid of. Rather, you should embrace it and know that the best way to be protected is to be educated.

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