Saturday, August 2, 2014

Should You Move Your Small Business Data to the Cloud?

What to Think About before Going Digital

It is no secret that many small businesses struggle with how and where to store data. With limited hard drive, email and other storage space available, moving to a cloud service may seem like a great option to free up in-office storage capacities and help improve computing capabilities. But, before jumping into “the cloud” there are some important points that small business owners should consider and risks that should be closely evaluated – moving important and sometimes sensitive business information to a cloud vendor is a huge move that should not be taken without some serious thought.

Make Yourself Aware of Legal Liabilities

Many businesses have internal auditing rules that govern how important or sensitive information is handled. One of the first things to consider before moving to a cloud service is whether or not using this type of service violates any of the internal standards that are set for the organization. It is also important to identify whether or not your business operates within a regulated industry or handles transactions with a government agency – these types of business transactions are often subject to different restrictions as far as data handling and management goes. Make sure to gather and understand any and all pertinent information before signing on to work with a cloud services vendor.

Find the Right Cloud Services Vendor

It is relatively easy for different vendors to offer cloud services. This gives businesses a choice between larger, more established vendors and smaller, start-up vendors. When choosing a cloud service to work with, consider what the business’s comfort level is – although smaller vendors may be perfectly able to provide services, are you comfortable being one of their first clients? It is important to consider aspects such as customer reviews, references and performance before choosing a vendor. Reliable and fast service is critical to cloud storage since this vendor will quickly become your business’s information technology department. Above all else, make sure you are comfortable with the vendor you choose.

Consider Back Up forms of Storage

It is very likely that the business’s data will be safe and secure on a cloud service – many professionals and business have been using cloud services for years and have reported few problems. But it is also important to consider the worst case scenario and consider putting a backup plan in place for important information. One way to put this safeguard in place is to periodically backup data that is being stored in the cloud. This can be done through exporting the information from the cloud to an external storage device or some vendors offer cloud backup services – these vendors allow businesses to keep copies of their cloud on local servers. This simply adds another layer of security for important business data.

Using local computer hard drives or server software is the most traditional way for businesses to store their data. Although this is effective, large amounts of data can often slow down computer and network performance, frustrating both the business owner and their employees. Luckily, technology has made it more possible for businesses to store data in places other than local hard drives – while clouds have made business life easier it is not without much consideration that many organizations choose to use this service. If you are considering cloud services for your small business, make sure to look at the big picture and seriously contemplate whether this technology is right for your company.

Moving to the cloud is just one decision a small business owner must make. If you are struggling to turn a profit with your legitimate home business, you may need some help or just a better opportunity. To find out how Stacy O'Quinn can help you like he has helped dozens of other business owners, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Elvert Barnes via Creative Commons License

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