According to Juniper Research cybercrime will quadruple the cost of estimated breaches in 2015 to hit $2.1 trillion globally by 2019.
This week I would like to thank one of our local IT security experts Tom Crampton of Trusted Impact for his hotel room analogy of cloud computing which I have adopted here for the SME market place: “Putting your data in ‘the cloud’ is a lot like staying in a hotel room.”
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We are rushing to adopt cloud solutions as they seem to be the future of technology and offer all sorts of benefits. I believe they do but they need to be approached with a degree of caution and understanding.
When selecting a hotel you assess the quality of the facility for cleanliness, space and quality of service. You expect the tidying and cleaning to be done for you and if you need a bigger room you can simply request it. If you need to throw a big party you can hire a function room for that too by the hour or day. Likewise with cloud services you look for a good solution and if you need to scale up for a digital event such as a digital election or a big online sale you can simply expand on a short-term basis.
When you stay at a hotel you understand that the hotel staff have a master key to your room and you act accordingly. You naturally assume the cleaning staff will pass through your room to do their work and are likely to notice what you have around unless it is packed away or better yet locked in the room’s safe. If there is no safe you might consider staying in a different hotel.
As a startup business we might be doing the equivalent of staying at the backpackers where we keep the few valuables we own with us at all times.
Having spent a year being that guy in 1992 I know that it is stressful because the little you have is everything you have and those around you are a constant threat. There is no budget for gaining security or comfort. There were some places where I sprayed the bed with bug spray before casting a plastic sheet below my sleeping bag, especially in developing countries, I then slept with my cash, credit card and passport in a money belt around my waist to be sure I still had it in the morning.
The data equivalent might be keeping it all on your laptop or PC with limited backup and limited security or antivirus. This exposes you to losing it all but your overheads are low and the risk is to you directly and your clients indirectly.
As our businesses grow and we have staff who need shared access to data we need to be more discerning with how we manage data, the security it offers and the speed at which we can recover from an incident. Part of the cost of cybercrime is the cost of recovering from a disruption.
If you are getting to be a larger business with many staff and still consider putting your data in cheap storage locally or in the cloud with an offshore facility that has insufficient encryption and protection, you may need to re-think your risk profile.
There are ways of securing your data at every step of the journey from your PC or mobile device to “the cloud”. There are ways of managing your networks and storage systems to mitigate the risks of cybercrime. It does not matter where you are at, from the solopreneur to the microbusiness, to the SME or midmarket, for a relatively small investment in technology you can protect your company data from the growing community of cybercriminals out there.
Don’t wait until it is too late, plan your protection, backup, recovery and continuity solutions before you need them. Get sound advice on cloud solutions and whether they really meet your needs for data privacy and security before your take risks with your business information.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for business IT that makes sense. How can we help?