The Cloud Services User

THE TREND: It used to be that all of your files were stored on hardware. These files are now in the cloud. If you think you don’t know what the cloud is, you may be surprised to learn that you probably use it already.

The cloud is where you access software services that help store, or run software applications anywhere in the world when needed. That includes email, websites, social media, online productivity tools, and online storage and backup services. Cloud computing services are accessed through the internet and mobile devices anytime, anywhere.

Having infinite, secure storage for your backup data at a reasonable price is just one of the many reasons people are moving to the cloud. The cloud can handle tasks without hardware and downloadable software, with little to no maintenance on your part. Even servers are now hosted in the cloud. With the cloud you have one place for all your file storage and sharing, media storage and playback, system backup and restore, and other computing needs.

With all of these possibilities there are, of course, risks. It is important to understand and prevent potential threats. Before you seize the opportunity to take advantage of all the benefits of the cloud, we can help separate fact from fiction.

MYTH: Paying for cloud services is more costly than buying hardware and software.

FACT: Less hardware is less hassle. Not only does cloud computing give you the benefit of having numerous servers without the stress, it saves you the large amount of capital it takes to purchase an actual server as well as overhead and maintenance costs. In fact, studies show small business cloud users spend less on IT than non-cloud users. Cloud services allow firms to scale dynamically according to their computing needs in real-time, vastly improving business agility.

MYTH: Cloud computing slows down computing processes and reduces productivity.

FACT: Cloud computing streamlines critical processes. In fact, your devices will use less computing power as the cloud handles half the work. Cloud computing solutions allow businesses to harness the power of top of the line servers, programs, and technologies. Cloud service providers have greater IT resources to handle software and hardware issues than small businesses. You can access and work with large amounts of data wherever you are, and your data remains accessible even if one of your devices fails or gets stolen.

Plus, with cloud-based security like Worry-Free™ Business Security Services from Trend Micro, you can manage all of your devices from anywhere and know that your data is safe. This maintenance-free antivirus service protects your machines from viruses, spyware, spam, malicious websites, and more wherever they are connected.

MYTH: Cloud service providers will take care of all my security concerns.

FACT: Data stored in the cloud may still be at risk. Look for a cloud service provider that adheres to the most stringent data center certifications and provides a guaranteed Service Level Agreement. Businesses should not rely on consumer-grade services as they typically don’t offer the level of security required to protect business-critical data.

Larger companies in particular, who may use a combination of on-site servers, private cloud storage, and public cloud services, will want to ensure their data is secure regardless of where it resides or how often it moves.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

To make the most of what the cloud has to offer, and avoid unnecessary grief, you need to adopt a security-conscious mindset and take extra steps to ensure the safety of your data. Creating strong passwords, installing security software, and practicing safe surfing habits are the minimum security measures you should be taking whether you’re at home or at work.

Change simple passwords into phrases that are hard for others to remember. Don’t recycle passwords or refer to popular media when creating new ones. Password managers like Trend Micro Password Manager allows you to use one master password for all your accounts.

Assign different email accounts for the cloud services you use. Make sure that these accounts are not tied to one you use for personal correspondence. This reduces the risk of a cybercriminal gaining access to other accounts and data if one of your email accounts is compromised. Remove any password verification or account signup notification emails from your inbox so any criminal that hacks into your account will not know what other accounts you have.

Check your devices. Take note of all the devices you use and map out what could accounts you access with each one. From there, see how you can secure them. Ensure your devices are free of malware and regularly updated. Make sure mobile devices have the necessary security features to protect against physical theft and cybercrime, such as with Trend Micro™ Mobile Security.

Be proactive about securing data in the cloud. Encrypt your files to keep them private. Cloud-based services like Trend Micro™ SafeSync™ automatically encrypt data you upload for storing and sharing with others. Larger businesses with their own data centers can use SecureCloud™ encryption and key management to ensure business-critical data is not exposed. And for companies moving data between physical, virtual, and cloud servers, Trend Micro™ Deep Security provides centrally managed protection across multiple platforms.