We all know, at least vaguely, what the “Cloud” is: the virtualized and internet-hosted solutions of varying forms and goals. When it comes to things like data protection, storage, hosted servers, and remote workstations, the cloud is our go-to answer—especially as we move more and more towards a remote work environment as a workplace standard. Cloud usage has become ubiquitous in the IT space, but with any widespread utilization comes widespread misconceptions; this is what we’re going to discuss today. There are a variety of misconceptions about the cloud—how it works, what it provides, what support it needs—that can leave companies inefficient or even at risk. We want to clear these misconceptions up to the best of our ability, in order to help you improve your solution.
The first major misconception around the cloud, and perhaps the most important one, is that the cloud is innately secure. Let’s be clear: most cloud solutions are not secure by default, they need additional support to be truly safe and secure from cybercrime. Security options might be available, but not activated by default. One such example of this is Microsoft 365, which supports Multi-Factor Authentication without turning it on by default. Unless they’re looking to secure themselves, companies might not find and activate this fundamental security service. Most cloud services are similar in this; you need to actively search for security features and manually activate them in order to protect yourself. Assuming that your cloud solution is innately secure is leaving yourself open to cybercrime and devastating data breaches. Things like folder sharing permissions, access links, sharing limits, and login location detection are never activated by default—work with your IT provider to discover what options are available to you, and activate them. Nearly 60% of breached businesses shut down within 6 months; don’t be one of them.
The second major misconception is almost as important; it relates to data storage and backups. You’re still at risk of losing data if it’s stored in the cloud. Cloud data storage does not necessarily mean it’s a good backup location, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s secure. Microsoft themselves recommend a third-party backup services in their 365 Terms of Service. Most cloud data storage solutions have limited data backup support—there’s a limit in how far back the backup goes. Unless your solution is explicitly for data backup purposes, the chances that your automatic backups go further than a month back are slim to none. Work with your IT provider to identify a third party data backup solution that you can rely on in addition to your existing solutions. The cost of lost data is impossible to estimate, regardless of industry.
The final major misconception we’re going to address today is more of a pitfall: poor network connectivity. Any cloud solution, by definition, requires a lot of bandwidth and a steady connection. Too many companies invest in a cloud solution without implementing suitably powerful network infrastructure. There’s no point in setting up collaborative cloud file sharing and storage if your connection to it is lagging and your files cannot sync. We also recommend setting up a redundant internet connection to smooth out and stabilize the experience.
If you’ve read this and realized that you’re falling into some of these traps, then that’s good! It means you’ve identified the problem, which is the most important step in solving it. We want your business to succeed—we’d be a terrible technology partner if we didn’t. If you want help remedying these problems, or if you have any other IT-related concerns, feel free to book a meeting with us. We’d love to get started.