Security in the Cloud

In its modern context, the phrase “the cloud” became widely known in 2006 when companies such as Google and Amazon began using “cloud computing.” This allowed people to access software programs, computing power and files over the web instead of on their desktops.

Today, the term is more en vogue than ever, and companies throw it around at every opportunity. It has become a buzzword to describe tech-related things. But what does “the cloud” actually mean? And more importantly, why is “the cloud” important for you and your business? (At this point, I’m going to drop the quotation marks around the term “the cloud.”)

Before diving into the technical explanation of the cloud, I’d like to paint a picture of it in terms that are much simpler.

Imagine if you stored all of your money in a safe in your house. While it might seem like it’s protected in that safe, you’d be out of luck if someone broke into your house and stole that safe. Or, imagine if you lived in an area prone to wildfires, and your house burned down, taking the safe with it. While your money seemed protected in that safe, due to unforeseen circumstances, the robbery or the fire, your money is now gone. Poof. Vanished. No way to recover it.

Now, imagine if instead of having all of your money in that safe, you had your money in a random bank account, somewhere in the world, that only you knew existed, and only you knew how to access. Now there is no way that you can lose your money, even if a burglar steals your safe, or a fire burns your house. You still have your money, protected in that bank account.

In this situation, the safe is like your work computer or server. You have all of your important documents, the folders and files that run your business, stored in one location. Just as the safe can be stolen by intruders or destroyed by natural disasters, so can a computer or server. And just like the money in the safe, your documents – emails, financial information, medical records, personal information and contact lists – can be stolen or destroyed in the blink of an eye. And without a secure backup of this information, your business would be dead in the water.

And this is more than just an analogy. This actually happens. Businesses all over the world are affected by downtime (when you can’t access your data for some reason), caused by a number of reasons: human error, natural disaster, ransomware, malware, viruses, you name it. And it’s devastating. According to the Aberdeen Group, downtime costs a small business an average of $8,581 per hour, or $80,000 per day. According to the The Institute for Business & Home Safety, of all businesses that close down after some sort of disaster, 25% never open their doors again.

Think about that! That’s devastating.

How can this be prevented?

Answer: the cloud. The cloud acts like that random bank account I talked about earlier. It allows you to store your data in a secure, protected location, where it is protected from meddling or disaster, and only you can access. By definition, the cloud is software and services that operate on the Internet, rather than locally on your computer, phone or in-house server.

So how does the cloud provide security?

First and foremost, the cloud protects your information because it utilizes a second location for storage. Instead of storing your data on your local computer, it is stored on the cloud.  This basically means that even if your local machines are compromised, your data, the lifeblood of your company, will not be. Many cloud providers, including Jungle Disk, utilize military-grade encryption to ensure that your data is protected while it is in the cloud. This basically transforms your data into an unreadable code language (like a fifth grader trying to read hieroglyphics) and gives only you the ability to translate it back into readable information. The cloud also offers geo-redundancy and replication, which means it stores your data in many places with multiple copies, to ensure that no matter what, there is always a safe, secure copy of your data.

While the data security that the cloud provides only scratches the surface of the numerous benefits of cloud utilization, it is definitely one of the most important. The cloud allows business owners to keep their data, as well as a backup of it, in a secure location, ensuring that the data can always be accessed, preventing downtime, and therefore saving money. We highly recommend using the cloud, and would love to help your business with the transition.

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