By Kayla Matthews.
Modern technology has changed the way we do business, mostly for the better. But it has also created new risks and problems, ones we must face.
Cloud storage, for example, has opened up so many possibilities. Data can be collected, stored and accessed from anywhere, even remotely. But these days cyberattacks have become more sophisticated, and with the amount of sensitive data available, they’re also becoming much more dangerous. According to Arbor Networks, an average of 124,000 “events” happened per week, during 2015 and the first six months of 2016.
While security is one of the biggest concerns organizations face during cloud adoption, it’s not the only one. As we move into the year ahead, and your business adopts new policies and strategies, this is something you must consider. What obstacles will you encounter along the way?
Automatic Updates Change the Landscape
One feature unique to the cloud is it makes managing systems and software much easier. This is because vendors generally handle the update process, which is rolled out seamlessly. It also affects all devices connected to the cloud network. There’s no need for a group of IT professionals to physically go from computer to computer installing new updates or software.
This is definitely convenient, but it can create issues. Imagine key features and tools that are patched out in updates. Consider new systems and tools you might have to adopt at the drop of a hat.
This stuff can be rare, so it’s not like it’s a daily occurrence you will need to combat. But it is certainly something to think about. How will you and your employees adapt to an ever-changing landscape?
Costs Are Related to Demand
Compared to on-site installations, cloud services have the potential to be much cheaper, especially for small businesses and other organizations. With the proven benefits to school districts, schools are even starting to adopt cloud services. However, cloud service costs in 2017 are expected to increase which means that, over time, it may be more beneficial — and cheaper — to abandon the cloud and adopt an on-site setup.
Of course, this includes losing the other benefits that go along with a cloud service, such as seamless updates, cheaper operating costs, and more. But sometimes you just have to stick to a budget.
Google understands this problem and is working with several providers to bring those costs down. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services are also pursuing cheaper options.
Data Access Is Not Always Guaranteed
Let’s be honest. While there are some exceptions, we experience internet connectivity issues a lot less than in years past. Many consider it to be an essential part of life, and so uptime is crucial.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean internet and data access are guaranteed. Sometimes things happen and it’s possible to lose access. This is not as much of an issue if you’re running a local or in-house installation. But when all your software, tools and data are stored elsewhere — accessible only through the internet — this can become a problem fast.
Your workers can end up helpless, twiddling their thumbs if the internet goes out. And if you have clients who rely on data access, an outage can even result in significant revenue loss.
And let’s not forget that cloud storage and service providers can experience outages too. Even though many boast a 99% availability rate, it’s still capable of happening.
The Government Is Watching
Thanks to Edward Snowden, several revelations have come to light, namely that the U.S. government has gone to great lengths to spy on its citizens. One of the many ways it has succeeded in doing this is by gaining access to cloud data.
A recent ruling means that any data stored at a U.S. vendor’s center — even if that center is located outside the country — is accessible with a warrant. For some companies and clients, this is a hot issue, because it’s not just about whether or not you have something to hide anymore.
Imagine this scenario. The government gains access to sensitive cloud data stored by your company and your clients. It does not use the proper security or protection, and the information falls into the wrong hands. Now, someone unscrupulous has that data and can do whatever they want with it. This can happen to any company, even one with amazing security protocols.
Additionally, such scenarios are not limited to the U.S. government alone. Though Snowden’s leaks have primarily affected the NSA in the U.S., other data-leaking agencies have the potential to affect countries around the world. For example, the 11.5 million leaked documents that make up the Panama Papers affected public officials and individuals around the globe, and websites like WikiLeaks regularly release information that could have international implications.
Human Error Is a Key Component
Ninety-seven percent of respondents from a cybersecurity survey agree the greatest security vulnerability comes from human behavior. Even with the proper training, it’s possible for employees and workers to make a decision or do something that puts your company — and data — at risk.
For instance, employees may open a malicious email attachment or visit an infected website from inside the company network. The only solution for this is to provide security training, beef up protection and adopt policies that encourage safe browsing habits.