Choosing cloud as the term for a system that stores data may have been an unfortunate misnomer. With regular news stories about hacking, it is difficult to envision a world where data floating around in the sky could ever be secure.
In a nutshell, cloud computing refers to services that are delivered over the internet. If involvement by the hacker-prone internet fails to help you sleep at night, then it’s time to learn more about the magic of the cloud. The following 4 points might convince you that this technology can help make your small business safer.
1. You’re not a security expert
Your education and background might eminently qualify you to run every aspect of your business. But, does that background include intensive knowledge of cybersecurity? Even if you dedicate time every day to learn about the latest malware, viruses and schemes, are you prepared to respond quickly enough to prevent attacks on your company’s valuable data?
As long as you use reputable cloud vendors, you have the latest and greatest security practices. This is not to say that someone will absolutely never invent a new hack that gets through, but it’s not easy. Major cloud services providers have multi-level, robust firewalls and other protections — and they undergo regular audits to check all aspects of their systems. Plus, this is their business, so they are always on top of the latest and greatest in security.
Even the most stalwart IT expert who stands guard over your internal computer systems cannot hope to provide the same level of protection.
2. Your staff members wear enough hats already
No matter how brilliantly employees work beyond their normal job descriptions, computer data security is likely beyond the scope of their knowledge. In one 2015 data breach analysis, Experian predicted that the largest threat to businesses will be employee errors.
Naturally, while your employees always retain certain responsibilities when handling company data securely, a good cloud provider will help remove much of the pressure to keep your data secure, while allowing your team to return to their many other jobs — and do them more effectively.
3. Cloud providers have better safeguards than you have
Security is not just about hackers. Even if you back up your computer system on a daily basis, you can easily lose a full day’s worth of vital data if disaster strikes. And, information stored on local computers, phones and tablets adds complexity to the issue, not to mention what happens if you keep your backups in your main facility. Cloud providers are really good at preserving data on- and off-site.
There are good reasons why my client Microsoft can claim that 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on the security protections provided by their impressive global datacenters. The company has spent billions of dollars to ensure that highly- knowledgeable security professionals use a massive infrastructure to retain control over ever-changing security risks.
Your small business has not reached the Fortune 500 stage… yet. But, if major corporations trust the security of the cloud, you should consider following suit. Cloud services are scaled to your needs, so you won’t pay major-corporation prices. You will, however, benefit from the same impressive safeguards for your valuable data.
4. It’s not just about data protection
If you think that data security is the only reason for using the cloud, you need to widen your vision. Anything that you can take out of the physical confines of your workplace benefits from reduced exposure to risk, as well.
Can you afford lost voice communications when a local power outage affects your business for a day or even a week? A cloud-based phone system like the one offered by my client Nextiva can make the difference between continuing operations and coming to a grinding halt.
At a monthly price that is typically lower than you might pay for traditional phone systems, power outages will not silence communications. In fact, even if the Internet is down, the Cloud keeps things moving by forwarding calls.
Data security is everyone’s responsibility
No matter how impressively cloud providers protect data, security is a team effort. Any small business owner still has to take common-sense measures. Cloud providers can’t protect businesses that provide free physical access to computer systems. Similarly, you need to take full advantage of network security options that limit employees solely to information that they need.
Finally, train your employees well, and set up written rules and limitations while keeping in mind that you have the right to monitor most personal use of company computers. Long work hours may necessitate their need to conduct personal business from the work place. When they can’t use their personal smart phones, however, they still need to enlist safe computing practices.
This article originally appeared on Microsoft.com