How secure is data in a Cloud? - HR Future helps people prepare for the Future of Work and is South Africa's leading print, digital and online Human Resources magazine.

How secure is data in a Cloud?

Business leaders need to optimise and grow their businesses and Cloud can certainly reduce costs and improve inefficiencies. However, how secure is data in the Cloud?

A concern for any company is giving up control of its data to a third party. By outsourcing file and data management, many companies would assume all the security has been taken care of.

Cloud service providers are not the owners of the data, they merely provide the resources. They don't control how the data is protected, customers do.

Managing your own data centre is costly, time consuming and resource intensive. One should rather consider outsourcing a lot of this hardware and software to specialist tech companies that can expand or reduce the level of service according to your needs, it can save you a lot of time and money.

Storing data and applications in the Cloud, rather than on one's own servers, can cut IT costs dramatically. Additionally, easy access to a range of ready-made Cloud-based services helps modern companies grow at a faster pace and gives them a competitive edge.

The biggest risk is being cut off from one's data due to an Internet crash. However, this is unlikely because the Internet is self-healing and was designed to route data around broken communication lines.

No system is fail safe, so before complaining to your Cloud storage provider for going down for five minutes, remember how long it would take to recover a new hard drive or a local server.

Most Cloud-based applications use safeguards to protect how data is transferred to the Cloud including backups and data recovery.

It says a lot that online retailer Amazon is happy to run its entire business on its own Cloud platform. The major public Cloud service providers have a number of data centres across the globe storing multiple copies of customer data. So, if one centre is destroyed by a natural disaster, your data is still safe.

However, some companies are now adopting a hybrid approach, keeping their more sensitive data in a private Cloud and other data and applications in the public Cloud.

Cloud computing is definitely here to stay, and its benefits are compelling. Companies that have migrated the majority of their business systems to the Cloud save on average more than 20 percent in IT spending as a percentage of revenue.

Post-modern Cloud-based ERP systems enable customers to view complete information anywhere, anytime, helping them to run the business from any location. Cloud application projects have also been found to deliver more than double the Return on Investment (ROI) of traditional on premise projects.

Bernard Ford is the CEO of One Channel.

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