Amongst the Clouds
Recently, I have written in this space about how the IRS offers some relief to those affected by natural disasters in the form of relaxed deadlines. Of course, this is a small concession to those who lost property or businesses that lost information. This week then, I want to counsel on that final part, and how it doesn’t have to happen anymore.
I understand that many people are wary about keeping information in any type of cloud service. And sure, we hear enough stories about information breaches that caution is warranted. If you personally feel this way, however, I urge you to do a little research about the security offered by legitimate services. Chances are that unless you have invested significant time and money into your on-site security, it is not any better than cloud services. Obviously one cannot deny that you are opening yourself to a possible breach when you store information somewhere else, but you are already open to that possibility. The only way to prevent it is if you are keeping everything on a computer not connected to the internet. And in that case, how are you reading this anyway?
Even in that situation, however, you are not completely safe. In the case of actual physical theft, you then would be left with zero access to everything you lost. Or envision one of those natural-disaster situations that results in a flood that makes your electronics unusable. At that point, you may wish you embraced cloud services a little more.
Think of storing your information digitally not as opening yourself to a new point of attack, but ensuring against the points of attack you already have. For as I intimated before, it is impossible to say that you are completely safe if you work on devices that are open to the internet. After all, cyberattacks do not only occur on a grand scale.
Beyond the security aspects of embracing the cloud, it can also greatly enhance your business’s workflow. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, have you ever been away from the office and wished that you had access to some work information? Placing that information into the cloud can allow you that any-time, any-place access.
This can be even more beneficial if you work with a team. Then, when you are networked, you allow everyone who needs access to that information contact with it. If they make changes to that information, those alterations will be saved so that everyone gets the latest version. This removes the need to reconstruct or combine changes in the future or send updated files between workers (which would just be another place for a potential security breach anyway).
There are so many new tools to help with these workflows that it is impossible to give an overarching recommendation to everyone; different businesses will have different needs. Chances are, though, that there are many things out there that can help your business while remaining secure. I recommend everyone take the time to consider them.
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