In this ‘post- Snowden’ world, the cloud is often seen as a dirty word synonymous with security breaches and the leaking of data. This has recently been compounded by the fallout from the TalkTalk data breach and the scandal around Hilary Clinton’s Gmail account.
However when utilised correctly, the cloud is a powerful tool which can be employed to streamline and increase productivity, and encourage collaboration.
Documents sent back and forth and edited over email can lead to multiple uncontrolled document versions, and confusion over which is the correct file to send to the client.
The advent of the public cloud and whole operating systems built around online storage makes things infinitely easier.
With tools such as Google Docs and Microsoft’s new Office Online, multiple people can work on the same document at once – you can see the changes others are making and even chat to them in real time. No more shooting them an email with a query and praying they’ll respond in time!
Even if you’re not collaborating on a document, the cloud can still work for you and your business. If your company has organised remote logins for your IT resources then wherever you are, all of your work documents are just a username and a password away.
These benefits means a happier, more efficient workforce and a myriad of other benefits for businesses.
For other IT resources it can be cheaper and more efficient for small and medium sized businesses to move their systems onto a public cloud, as it’s usually a pay as you go system.
This means instead of investing capital on in-house servers that may not be utilised to their full potential, businesses only have to pay for what they actually use – which can work out cheaper.
Public cloud isn’t for everyone however, and some organisations will find that a private or hybrid cloud gives them a better balance of resources, control and flexibility. The Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft is an example of this, allowing for a blend of private and public cloud capacity and letting organisations place each workload on the most appropriate platform.
Whether using public cloud, or some kind of hosted private / hybrid solution, using a 3rd party datacentre can have the added advantage of being more environmentally friendly. Instead of each company trying to run their own computer room, an optimised datacentre that uses less overall electricity hosts platforms for multiple organisations. Business managers will note this also means their company pays much less in electricity bills – good for the bottom line!
Vitally though, all of this must be underscored with enterprise-class security, including use of strong passwords. Using ‘password123’ just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.
Passwords should be a random collection of letters, numbers and punctuation. In addition to this, security questions that can’t be guessed are vital. It’s a waste of time creating the world’s most un-crackable password if the answer to your security question is something easily Googled.
By Gordon Davey