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How to Be Safe in The Cloud

Two weeks ago, I wrote about all the stunning, very cool software available for small businesses.

Amazingly, these software programs can be used for small businesses up to $100 million in sales volume.

However, some people have concerns going fully into the cloud. In this week’s blog I will address those concerns.

Firstly, My In-House Servers are Safer Than the Cloud

Really? How so? Are they physically safer? Can they be compromised by theft, hardware failure, heat, cold, dust? Are they sitting in a locked, air-conditioned room?

Are you fully satisfied that your backups are restorable?

I once thought I had a perfect backup system for data on our servers. I even tested our backups regularly to ensure they worked.

Then one day, I needed to restore some lost data. Oops. Gone. I have no idea to this day, why I could not restore the lost data. But it was gone. That was a wee bit of a shock.

Managing servers in-house can result in:

  1. Lost data
  2. Hardware failure
  3. Software failure
  4. Outside attacks to steal your data

What Do I Get When I Use a Cloud- Based Software?

Peace of mind is the main thing you get. We started our online accounting business in 1999. We used the latest servers (Dell) and the latest Windows Server software.

We placed our servers in a walk-in vault in our board room in downtown Victoria. We installed air conditioning units in the ceiling.

Still, the headaches and stress was great! Often Windows server software updates changed the way everything worked together.

I had many sleepless nights hacking the registry of Windows so all our clients and Team members could keep logged in.

We then moved to a data facility, and still, many sleepless nights when something broke, or there was a power outage at the server facility.

Moving 100% of our clients to the cloud a few years ago was a huge relief.

Everything was now managed by massive teams of experts for both hardware and software.

You could float on a cloud of peace.

So, is it secure?

Super secure.

As an example, check this out for details (how Xero manages your data):

https://www.xero.com/ca/about/security/

If It Is So Secure in The Cloud, How Does Data Get Breached?

It is true, your data can be breached.

But first, know that your data is encrypted when it leaves your computer. Second, it is encrypted on the journey back to your computer.

At Xero, unless you let one of Xero’s support Team in by inviting them, they cannot access your data. When you need support, you have to invite them in. They have no way to access any other way!

So, how do breaches occur?

By:

  1. Accessing your user email and password
  2. Phishing attempts

How to Protect Against Data Breaches?

There are 5 things you can do to ensure your data is never breached:

  1. Use secure passwords. Avoid your pet’s name with your date of birth, as an example;
  2. Use multi-factor authentication. Usually this is a unique code generated by another piece of software on your phone. That, combined with a good password, is virtually impossible to hack;
  3. You can check logs of when you last logged in. Look at these logs once in a while to ensure no one has gone in except you and your Team;
  4. Have up-to-date reputable anti-virus software installed. (**NOTE** Windows 10 has been great having built-in anti-virus checks);
  5. Beware of hacking or phishing emails. Do not get hoodwinked into thinking they come from your software provider just because they look official.

Finally, there are ways to dump your data from the cloud to your desktop computers. I will write more about that in another blog.

Thanks for reading…