Are we the weakest link?

As we use more and more cloud services to feed our desires for information sharing and access wherever we are, should we worry just how secure our data is? And does the convenience outweigh the risk?

Recent incidents likeMat Honan's Gizmodo twitter account being hacked, as well as large established providers like Dropbox having security breaches, have raised awareness to a point, but many breaches don't make the headlines. Instead, if you search for cloud services you will find a range of providers from the big names like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft.

But with more data being stored in the cloud, surely there is more information for hackers to copy and destroy without going anywhere near your device.

Many of us like cloud services and use them to share documents with colleagues from different businesses and inside our own. On average, we Brits spend 15 hours a week on Facebook, sharing our lives, opinions and photos with our friends. Sharing is part of everyday life and we tend to do it without thinking. And now it seems that what we do in our personal IT world is followed by our working IT world.

With businesses being 'led' by the consumerisation of IT into areas where employees are expressing real desires to bring their own devices to work, cloud computing is being billed as a way to help us easily access and share we need to assess our own risks and merits. Each business is different and needs its own bespoke approach to software and web-based applications.

File sharing services such as Dropbox market themselves as safe alternatives to storing files locally and have a large following of loyal and regular subscribers. But when there are security breaches such as those recently experienced, it obviously harms not only that supplier but the reputation of cloud services as a whole. It's all about trust and it would appear that there is still no service trustworthy enough to hold sensitive information securely.

Businesses need to have a clear plan in place to cover what they store and access, and where to choose to do this. The majority of financial and customer information has to be secure and as such should never 'go into the cloud', and provision instead be made for this to be stored locally.

Perhaps though there is other information that can and should be shared using web applications, thereby improving employees' productivity and effectiveness. Allowing employees to bring their own devices to work to reduce business costs and enhance their interaction with their work may also work for some in different degrees. So with planning and the right solutions for your business the convenience can outweigh the risk.

As we do go down the route of sharing more and taking advantage of the greater access and flexibility that cloud computing brings, there's one critical factor that's less easily controlled and that's us. As individuals we need to do all we can to help safeguard our data, and make sure we choose partners that share our ideals of quality and security.

At Solweb your data security is our primary concern and we ensure features are built into all of our software with the explicit intent of protecting your sensitive information on whatever platform you choose, and wherever you choose to store it.

For more information on what Solweb can do for your business, whether it be on your desktop or in the cloud, give us a call on 01202 232 846 and we'll talk about how we can help.

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