By Marty Hooper of Common Sense Solutions

With all of the latest news about data breaches, misuse of personal data and crypto infections, it may make you think about pulling the plug on cloud computing in an effort to protect your personal and company data. Or if you are just now considering moving to the cloud, these incidents may cause you to defer that decision out of an abundance of caution. The real question is – am I safer in the cloud or running all of my programs and data storage locally?

The short answer is yes, you are actually safer in the cloud than you are on a local system! You are probably wondering how that can be given that cloud programs and data are available to you from anywhere in the world with Internet access. It stands to reason that if you can get to it, so can an entire host of nefarious actors who would steal, encrypt, corrupt or sell your data. While that is true, with proper precautions and security protocols, your data can be safer in the cloud.

Let’s look at some of the risks you take by keeping your data locally.

  • Local servers and workstations are at risk of hardware failure, power surges, corruption, and other related issues. If your data is not properly backed up, you could be at risk of data loss and could potentially bring your business to a standstill.
  • There is also the physical aspect of a server’s location. How many people have access to the central data room and server storage area? Most likely it’s too many. A great deal of data theft comes from disgruntled employees or employees who are leaving the company for a competitor. It’s easier to pull large amounts of data from a local server than from the cloud. Infection and breaches are just as common in local environments as they are in the cloud, they just don’t get the publicity.

What should you do to stay safe in the cloud?

  • First, contract with a reputable and reliable cloud service provider. Make sure they are experienced and understand cloud environments.
  • Your provider should use a top cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure. Microsoft, Amazon and a few of the other top platforms are focused on security and data integrity. Ask if there is a formidable cloud firewall in place.
  • A strong password policy is your best defense against intrusion. The policy should be tightly enforced with no exceptions.
  • Control access to shared company data. Only those who need access to sensitive data should be able to see and copy that data. Restricting file sharing from local computers to the cloud can also prevent users from copying data locally.
  • Make sure your provider has the proper backup solution in place. Cloud servers can be restored from a major catastrophe much faster than local servers, especially if the data is properly backed up and protected.

If you take these precautions, your cloud experience should be safer, more productive, and more profitable in the long term.