As business owners, we often hear about the many benefits of migrating data to the cloud. Flexibility, streamlining, and achieving economies of scale are just some of the advantages regularly touted on behalf of cloud computing.
But, what about the other side of the coin – the risks that are inherent in any business endeavor?
Here is a rundown of the various risks companies face when operating in the cloud:
Customer Risk: As a cloud customer, you retain legal responsibility for data backup, data protection regulation, enabling and updating software, managing migration between systems, and application-level network security such as firewalls and antivirus software.
Supplier Risk: Supplier risk exposure, which could affect your company, includes physical security of the data center, accidental data deletion, and failing to perform scheduled backups.
Even though these risks exist in the cloud, businesses need to understand that cloud customers generally retain control over their data. Understanding how your data is protected can make the cloud seem less like risky business.
Since one of the greatest fears, regarding the cloud, is the loss of control, understanding that you still have complete control over your data should ease your concerns.
To increase your cloud comfort level, you can conduct a simple risk assessment of your current provider, or as you are shopping around for cloud services. Here are the things to check for:
1. Availability: Not every cloud provider assures availability, and some can provide more assurance than others. This concern should be at the top of your list as you evaluate vendors.
2. Data Breach: Ask the cloud provider to explain the safeguards they have in place to prevent data from being accidentally or maliciously accessed by the wrong people.
3. Data Loss: Along the same vein, find out what the provider will do if your data becomes lost on their system. Knowing what would happen in a worst-case-scenario can help you prepare for it.
4. Malicious Insider: Finally, be sure to inquire about any previous breaches that have occurred with the company, including any reports of malicious attacks from inside. Although rare, these situations do exist. A professional company will be happy to discuss your concerns and answer your questions.
While moving to the cloud does carry risks, these risks are manageable if you prepare for them. The only way to truly prepare for any risk is to conduct a thorough risk assessment prior to implementation. Checking off the list of concerns above will help ensure you have vetted your cloud provider so you can relax and enjoy the benefits of the cloud.