Business managers are sometimes concerned that a move to the cloud involves a loss of control. What used to be kept in-house is now stored on someone else's servers.
That shift can represent a big leap of faith for managers who work in small businesses, especially those who are not tech-savvy. While some might not be entirely aware of how the cloud works, scare stories abound in the media about hacking incidents, lost data, upset customers and massive fines.
If you're thinking of embracing the cloud, then you will have to convince those who work around you that a move to cloud hosting is the secure solution you've been seeking. The great news is that rather than a loss of control, a move to the cloud is a far more effective way to look after your firm's crucial business data than a reliance on an internal data centre.
Benefiting from stability on demand
Your small firm will not have limitless funds, so would you rather spend a lot of money on buying and maintaining a server room, or would you rather use your limited funds in other areas of the business? Now, you might think that keeping data safely at home under lock and key is a business priority - but that doesn't have to mean you should buy tin.
Small businesses can use the cloud to pay for storage on-demand as their business requirements change. That means you can scale both upwards and downwards, only paying for what you need and use. So, rather than hosting your data on an inflexible, costly and potentially unstable in-house resource, you can work with a trusted external partner who is an expert in secure hosting.
Analyst Gartner says public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) workloads will suffer at least 60 per cent fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centres through 2020. Cloud hosting gives you the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of a security specialist, without having to spend the money to buy, manage and maintain storage internally.
Looking after and backing up data
Of course, your business might already recognise that a move to the cloud provides access to the highest level of IT expertise. But your senior managers might still be concerned that moving data to an external location represents a loss of control. These managers might believe that you can be sure of the location of data when it's kept on an internal server.
Yet storing data in an internal data centre is no guarantee of control. As your business stores more and more information, you must have an effective mechanism for archival and retrieval. So, how is your information backed up? Do you have a mirrored data centre on another location? If you don't have strong answers to these questions, then you must consider how the cloud can form part of your information management strategy.
Using the cloud - either on its own or as part of a hybrid approach - allows you to mirror your data and create an automated backup. What's more, most cloud vendors will provide a series of tools to help your business manage its data storage. You'll know what's being stored where and you can ensure your firm is always in charge of its information management strategy.
Using automation to increase your capability
This new level of automation and control is likely to provide a boon to smaller businesses. Organisations must deal with a significant amount of legislation around information management, such as the recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Ensuring your organisation is compliant with GDPR is a resource-intensive task.
This kind of pressure can create pressure for smaller firms who have limited manpower resources. Senior managers in your firm might be concerned that using the cloud to help fill the skills gap is a risky strategy. However, Gartner suggests the challenge exists not in the security of the cloud itself, but in the policies associated with the application of the technology.
The analyst suggests at least 95 percent of cloud security failures will be the customer's fault. So, rather than the cloud being unsafe, it is the user - not the cloud provider - who fails to manage the controls used to protect an organization's data. Automating processes through the cloud helps reduce human error and the risk of attacks. By working with a trusted provider, your smaller firm can work to keep its data secure.
Conclusion - Showing the benefits of the cloud to everyone
The cloud might be the new normal when it comes to IT provision but that doesn't mean everyone is convinced by its strengths. If you already recognise the positives that come from working with a cloud hosting provider, then you might still need to demonstrate the benefits to those who work in your smaller business. From stability to backup and onto automation, secure cloud hosting can help your business overcome some of its most tricky challenges.