That was the title of an article published by the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online Blog, unfortunately the Stay Smart Online Blog is no longer available, that provided guidiance to small and medium businesses when considering cloud solutions. It notes that research indicates that many small businesses, while hesitating to use the cloud because of security fears, are actually using cloud services without realising it.
Consider these following services: email websites (official company web portals), social media, online productivity tools and online storage and backup services. Companies and individuals using any one of these services may be surprised to learn they are already leveraging the benefits of cloud computing.
Whereas cloud related fears are holding back greater adoption of the cloud there are several ways that small business owners can help their company to safely enjoy the benefits of going to the cloud.
Make a loundry list
Identify which of your organisation’s tasks or business processes require hosting software on a computer or server and can the cloud be a solution instead.
We are happy to help you with the assessment of your software and suggest suitable cloud solution alternatives that are tailored to your business. Another approach could be to transfer your existing software into the cloud by simply creating an image of your current server. And of course we are there to answer any questions you may have.
Make a decision
Ask questions like, “Do I want to maintain my own server? Do I have the skills and budget to do so?” If your answer to both questions is “No,” then find a service provider who can manage your server. Then compare how much it would cost you to manage your server and server software on your own vs. hiring someone else to do so.
After having determined the best cloud solution for your business we will provide you with a quote that details what is included in your cloud solution and what the total costs would be on a monthly basis.
Have a backup plan
Thoroughly read your cloud service provider’s terms of service. Ask questions like “What kind of service level agreement (SLA) do you offer?” and “What sort of contingencies do you have in place should a power outage occur?” Come up with a plan to help ensure that your business goes on as usual despite power disruptions or other unavoidable circumstances.
The main service level agreement we offer is a 99.5% availability of your server. If you should require additional service levels we are more than happy to discuss them with you. This usually goes hand in hand with an assesment of the overall infrastructure design to eliminate single point of failures according to your requirements.
Secure your devices
Make sure your devices or endpoints are secure. Hosted security offerings may provide enterprise-grade protection for desktops, laptops, and servers without the need for a local server to manage the solution.
Again this depends on our current IT environment and the operating system(s) you are using. We generally recommend a patch management process that keeps your endpoints up to date, an antivirus solution for protection against malware and the encryption of your devices. It is also adviseable to perform a periodic external security scan to find vulnerabilities or configuration errors.
Give secure access
Provide your employees secure access to applications and data stored in the cloud.
We generally use encrypted connections, unless otherwise necessary, and two factor authentication to provide a secure access. The two factor authentication usually consists of username/password and a digital certificate. For a even higher level of security we also offer token based solutions that either use a hardware token or a soft token on your pc or mobile device.
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