“We don’t need to worry – everything is in the cloud.”
Have you heard anyone say something like this recently – or even said something like it yourself? These days, it seems that almost everyone is moving to the cloud, using remote servers to store data, run applications and provide easy access to important information while reducing costs.
While the cloud offers many benefits to businesses of all sizes, as many business owners are learning it should not replace physical servers in the office. In fact, there are several reasons why it is vital that your business own and operate its own on-site server, as the consequences of not doing so can be serious and costly.
Recent high-profile security breaches have only served to highlight one of the realities of modern life: data is valuable, and all it takes is one malicious code to put personal data at risk. Anyone who deals with sensitive data, such as financial information, is bound by federal law to protect that data, and in some cases, there are specific laws and requirements that businesses must adhere to in order to avoid significant fines and sanctions by the government. It’s also important that businesses be able to demonstrate their security protocols on demand.
In some cases, it’s simply easier to meet those legal requirements when your server is kept on-site and in your control, as opposed to in a cloud-based server. When you are managing the server and all of the information it contains, as well as access, you can better adhere to legal requirements and avoid problems related to non-compliance.
When you opt to use a cloud provider, you may not always know exactly where your data is being stored. In fact, in some cases, your data might even be stored on a server overseas – and you have no idea where it’s located or who has access to it. While a reputable cloud services provider will maintain strict physical security protocols, keeping your server on-site gives you even more peace of mind related to physical security and allows you to control exactly who has access to your servers.
Imagine something goes wrong with your server. Can you send your IT staff into the server closet to investigate and fix the problem – or do you have to contact technical support, which may or may not be in the actual space where your server is stored? Sometimes, fixing your network is simple, and it can be handled much more efficiently in-house when your servers are all located on-site.
If you’re using a cloud service provider, have you considered what could happen if that provider is the target of an attack, either cyber or physical? Or what happens if there’s a significant power outage in the region where the provider is located – or if your provider goes out of business? You might think that your cloud provider is too big to fail, but recent history has shown us that nothing is immune to failure.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make use of cloud providers at all, but ideally you need a local backup of everything that you store in the cloud. On the off chance that something goes wrong, you haven’t lost anything – and you can still access your data while you fix the problem in the cloud.
One of the major selling points of cloud services is that it allows for remote access to data and programs when your employees are on the road. However, what some business owners may not realize is that you can offer the same remote access – often with better controls – from an internal server.
With the right programs, employees can access an internal server just as easily as they can access a cloud server – and you may be able to more effectively control that access and add security features. If nothing else, if there is a problem with remote access, your internal IT team can investigate the problem, creating a seamless experience for your employees.
The cloud offers many benefits to your business, but you need to create a system that includes both remote operations and an on-site server. Do that, and you will be covered no matter what happens, and you’ll always have access to your files, while also keeping them safe and secure from unauthorized access.
About the Author: IT and operations consultant Karen MacCauley blogs about IT best practices. She helps clients determine the best solutions for their computing needs, and often recommends xByte for the best servers and equipment at the best prices.