The Cloud for Small Businesses
Simply put, cloud computing enables an individual or global organization to avoid investment in physical infrastructure —including servers, storage, databases, networking and software – in favor of a “pay as you go” model. This translates into greater flexibility (up and down) based on need, built-in ubiquitous access and payment for only the services actually used. There is no compromise to security, privacy or control.
Not all cloud environments are the same, however, and no single type of cloud computing is right for every business. The size of your company, the location of your employees, the current setup, future growth plans and budget are all considerations when deciding on the best use and deployment method.
Public clouds are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service providers that provide computing resources (servers, storage, databases, etc.). All that’s required is an Internet connection. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are examples of the leading Cloud providers.
Don’t let the word “Public” cloud fool you; just because you use AWS, Google or Azure doesn’t mean your information is available to the public. Quite the contrary. With a public cloud provider, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. They lease the use of their environments for a very competitive price. Netflix uses AMS for their Cloud Computing needs.
A private cloud is a cloud computing environment that is used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private cloud’s hardware is physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter or in rented space, but the hardware – and all associated maintenance and support – is the responsibility of the organization.
A hybrid cloud environment combines public and private (on premises) infrastructure, linked together through technology that allows data and applications sharing between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud provides businesses greater flexibility, more deployment options, and helps optimize existing infrastructure, security, and compliance.
When determining the appropriate setup and configuration of your business technology infrastructure, many factors contribute to the considerations, such as the size of your company, the location of your employees, anticipated growth and of course, budget.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-Service, (IaaS), provides the greatest degree of flexibility and permits holistic services for any business size, including networking, authentication services, application hosting, security, data / file storage and management control over your IT resources. It can scale as your business does, but a managed service provider is recommended to ensure the configuration is properly secure and appropriate for your business needs.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service removes the need to manage the underlying infrastructure (usually hardware and operating systems) to permit deployment control and management of applications. Many development teams find this solution very helpful and efficient since it removes any need to worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, or any of the other infrastructure maintenance involved with operating an application suite.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software-as-a-Service provides a completed product that is run and managed by the service provider. In most cases, Software-as-a-Service refers to end-user applications. A good example of a SaaS product is Salesforce. With a SaaS offering you do not have to think about how the service is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed; you only need to think about how you and your team will use the particular piece of software. SaaS applications are becoming more and more popular since they relieve a business from worry about maintenance of hardware, scalability and ubiquitous access
Moving to the Cloud is a smart and economical decision that will help keep your business competitive, collaborative and protected from local disaster. Ensuring security for your data, and that of your clients, customers or stakeholders, is not only required, but critical. A comprehensive Cloud Security Program includes a complimentary mix of policies, procedures, technology, and threat management tools.Cloud service providers are obligated to ensure a safe infrastructure and protect the user’s data and applications.
However, even if you are working with a trusted service provider such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, there is still more you need to do to protect your data and customer’s privacy.
Policies + Procedures
Effective policies and procedures establish how information is stored, retrieved and the rules that govern how it is handled and by whom. It’s essential that security policies are designed to keep employees aware of the latest threats and how to best protect themselves and the firm from malicious hackers. This includes a formal Data Leakage Prevention (“DLP”) policy for email, data and remote access. Education, policies and procedures are perhaps the most effective and cost-efficient means toward protecting your data.
Technologies, including administrative controls, physical security, logical controls, organizational standards, and other safeguarding techniques limit access to unauthorized or malicious users or processes.One example is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Also called multiple-factor or multiple-step verification, it is an authentication mechanism to double check that your identity is legitimate. It requires two verification factors, a password and a second factor, usually an authenticator code on a mobile device to login. This ensures that a hacker cannot gain access to your account with only a password.
A computer security approach in an organization that deals with all forms of unwanted intrusions, including attacks on computer systems, malware of all kinds and even spam. There are a broad range of cost-effective methods and tools to protect your small business, including: Network Monitoring, Intrusion Detection, Web Filtering, Next Generation Firewalls, Data Encryption and Reporting.