Is your business vulnerable in the age of the cloud?

by Chris Tacon - Executive Director, Global Office

As organisations continue to move towards more digital methods of doing business, paper-based offices are becoming a thing of the past.

More and more, businesses are flocking to the cloud. Small start-ups right through to large multinational companies (and every organisation in between) all rely on the cloud to help manage their business. Accounts; payroll and CRM systems; sensitive information about staff and clients; data backup – it can all be all hosted on the cloud.

This technology obviously has huge benefits for businesses, including reduced IT and overhead costs; having all your data accessible in one place; being able to work anywhere at any time; and allowing operations to be easily scaled up or down as required.

Yet it’s important to consider two things when making the jump from a paper-based system to a digital one: security and contingency.

Security

When your business is based in the cloud, the risk of a potential security breach is magnified compared to a paper-based system.

If a sensitive piece of information is stolen from the cloud, for example, it can be distributed to thousands of people within minutes. If this happens, it can have devastating and long-lasting implications.

It is imperative that business owners, directors and managers are familiar with the security risks, and have solid protocols in place to combat them. Things that should be considered are:

  • File encryption.
  • Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) – logins that require two actions for access ie a password and a code sent to a verified cell phone.
  • Password management: Make sure your staff use passwords that are difficult to guess (not children’s names or birth dates) and that they change them regularly.

Contingency

With organisations relying so heavily on the cloud during their day-to-day work, an outage with your service provider or a wider systems outage can quickly bring business to a grinding halt. Without a solid Plan B in place, an outage could be a very costly exercise.

To make sure you can ride the tide if the worst occurs, a contingency might include:

  • Securely backing up all data regularly
  • Using multiple cloud providers to minimise disruption in an outage
  • Investing in cloud monitoring tools that check that the cloud is functioning correctly
  • Having traditional payroll and accountancy methods at your disposable when needed

The cloud is a great business tool, but your business should be able to run smoothly – at least temporarily – without it.