Do your employees access their data and apps at home or on the road?
Are you a small business owner who has leveraged free data storage?
Do your customers log in to your website to order supplies or services?
And do you use online software services – like HR and payroll?
If any of the situations above sound familiar, then in all likelihood you have a cloud-enabled service provider. When you put your data in the cloud, you’re handing it to a provider whose data center could be anywhere in the world. Moreover, the cloud provider may commingle your data with other clients within the same application or server.
Fundamentally, cloud computing is a delivery of computing in a service format. System services, applications, storage and other services (such as web hosting, email filtering and security) are all available in the cloud. The term “cloud” describes the aggregation of servers and applications into a cohesive service that provides highly scalable and distributed access to resources in a variety of formats. Using the idea of economies of scale, cloud providers can provide more cost-effective solutions to their customers – you buy only what you need, when you need it. As a small business owner, you can leverage the latest tools and security at a fraction of the cost.
There are public, private, community and hybrid clouds and a number of cloud players – cloud service providers, cloud auditors, cloud brokers, carriers and you, the consumer. Additionally, there are a number of cloud service offerings – platform, software, infrastructure and security. Knowing how to select the right tools for your business is one of the reasons the the National Cybersecurity Society was created – to help small businesses stay safe online.
Before you sign a contract, deposit your data in a free service, or sign up for website hosting – read the fine print. If you are still unsure, visit nationalcybersecuritysociety.org for tips, how-to-guides and webinars or “Ask an Expert” to get the information you need.
About the Author
Chiranjeev Bordoloi is the executive vice president of the National Cybersecurity Society, a community of technology professionals who are committed to helping small business owners understand their risk and improve their cyber posture. For more information about the National Cybersecurity Society, visit nationalcybersecuritysociety.org.