4 Essential Tips for Using the Cloud

4_essential_tips_using_cloud

Are you taking your business to the next level by joining the cloud? Cloud computing can be a great asset for your business, but you must use it correctly in order to safely and securely transfer your data to an online database. Here are some essential tips on how to use the cloud effective and safely.

Back it up

The first rule of data is always: back it up. The second rule of data is: ALWAYS back it up! You do this already, so keep up your good habits when you move to the cloud. One advantage of the cloud is that your online cloud provider can actually automate backups to safe locations. This can save you tons of time, and possibly your business, in the event of an accident or hardware malfunction. Speak with your cloud provider about backup options and ensure that your online database is backed up in more than one location to account for every eventuality.

Always have a plan B

Just because you are now hosting all your online databases and software on the cloud, doesn’t mean you are never going to have downtime. Sure, cloud providers have fairly reliable services and you are sure to experience less downtime than you did with your own private servers, but you must always plan for the worst case scenario.

During Hurricane Sandy, several of the larger cloud providers experienced downtime as their servers were flooded in New York. Power outages, large storms, earthquakes, viruses and fires can all result in downtime and it’s essential that you have a plan B when these disasters occur. Speak with your IT department and your cloud provider about possible solutions should they experience problems.

Cloud security protocols

Having a viable security protocol in place is one of the best ways to ensure that your online database is secure on the cloud. While perimeter security is essential, ensure that your cloud provider also has protection from virtual machines (VM security) to protect your data inside the perimeter. Speak with your cloud provider about security options to find a package that best suits your needs.

While your cloud provider can ensure the security of your online databases from outsiders, you and your IT specialists need to create a security protocol which your employees can follow to ensure the safety of sensitive data.

As handheld devices become more popular, securing your data on the cloud becomes more difficult. As your employees access the cloud from different devices at different locations, you must ensure that they do so securely. You also need to find ways to protect the data you store on the cloud should those devices be lost or stolen.

“The BYOD [bring your own device] to work issue is huge because now you have devices you don’t own trying to access your data over networks that you don’t control,” says Tom Clare, senior director of product marketing at Websense, a content security vendor.

Putting security protocols in place for employees to follow when they access the cloud is a great start. Registering devices and ensuring that they are secure is also a good idea, but you need to be able to monitor employee access to the cloud so that you can ensure that security protocols are being followed. Remember that the information contained in your online databases is one of your most valuable assets and needs to be protected.

Spend some money on architecture

One of the cloud’s greatest assets is its versatility. You can design a cloud platform that suits your business needs and creates the perfect work environment for your employees. While this means that you can save tons of money on non-essential services as you aren’t forced to purchase entire software suites or security packages, it’s vitally important that you design the platform that is right for your company.

It is worth spending a little more money to ensure that your platform is tailored to your needs. Put the time and effort into surveys to determine your needs and consultants who can design the perfect platform. Spending a little money initially will save you more in the long run.

A move to the cloud can really help you to take your business to the next level. To get the most out of this innovative new technology, ensure that you consult the professionals on the best options for your business.