Updated September 2, 2018 . AmFam Team
Cloud computing offers convenience and affordability to small business owners, providing the ability to instantly share, edit and backup data from anywhere. However, you may worry that storing your information online leaves you vulnerable to a cyberattack. The good news is your data is actually safer — with the right cloud computing solution — than with a do-it-yourself approach.
Professional cloud services can leverage security personnel, software and hardware to create a more secure environment than the average entrepreneur or small business owner can provide in-house. While there have been high-profile data breaches of cloud servers, “the risk is tiny,” says Cyrus Farudi, director of cloud file services for cloud storage firm Barracuda Networks. “Look at the amount of data stored and transferred by cloud companies versus breaches that do happen.”
That being said, you should perform due diligence to ensure that your cloud service has adequate measures in place to keep your business data safe. Farudi suggests looking for services that use 256-bit encryption, encrypts data in both transfer and storage and use redundant data centers for backup.
“There are so many services out there it’s almost ridiculous,” says Chris Chute, research vice president for IDC Global Small/Mid-Sized Business Cloud & Mobility Research Practice. While you ultimately must decide which solution is best for you, Chute recommends five reputable online storage options and security apps that may appeal to small businesses.
Microsoft OneDrive. This is a simple solution for businesses that already use Microsoft Office products since OneDrive integrates seamlessly with the productivity suite. “It’s very easy to access your data and use it within the Microsoft environment,” Chute says.
Citrix ShareFile. ShareFile gives you cloud access tailored to your specific industry, meeting the legal requirements for storage and sharing for those in healthcare, education, finance or other sensitive fields. “All the necessary compliance regulations are built into the solution,” says Chute.
Box. This content platform specializes in sensitive projects so your team can collaborate on confidential files that never touch an insecure device. Box also lets you track every user’s activity to ensure full transparency in how your files are accessed, edited and more.
Acronis. Acronis Backup protects your data with a very beneficial twist. Instead of just securing specific files and folders, the service backs up your entire computer. In the event of a crash, they will send you an image of the device so you get back on your feet without requiring a total reinstall.
Dropbox. Dropbox for Business makes it easy to recover lost data, remotely wipe a lost device and control who has access to what. Steer clear of the offer for free individual file sharing because entrepreneurs quickly find that they need the features of the full business product. “A small business owner should avoid the temptation to use a free consumer service because it will create headaches down the road,” Chute says.
It might take a leap of faith to move your data out of the office and onto the cloud, but pick the right service and rest assured that your information is safe. “The level of protection and security is far superior than anything you can do yourself,” Farudi says. “It’s a no-brainer in this day and age.”
American Family Insurance has a wealth of business resources you can use to improve your business's safety, efficiency and more. And if you're thinking of adding some extra protection to shelter your business from the unexpected, your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) can help.