Posted by Kalyani M. on Aug 19, 2013
Small businesses around the world utilize the cloud to gain an edge on the competition. Through leveraging cloud computing and storage, SMBs can level the global playing field, competing with large international enterprises and even Fortune 500s. Unfortunately, the unregulated cloud market and shady contracts have led some small businesses to trust their sensitive company and customer data to unsecured clouds. This lack of a cloud security standard has resulted in hacking, leaks, and data mining, all of which can be serious setbacks for small businesses. The good news is that secure cloud service providers can offer complete data privacy and protections along with absolute user anonymity. This way, SMBs can take advantage of all of the cloud’s benefits without having to worry about trading security for cost-savings and convenience.
According to Forrester predictions, SMBs will help fuel the forecasted growth in business reliance on the cloud from 22% in 2013 to 27% in 2014. Another report, the State of SMB IT 1H 2013 Semi-Annual Report On Small and Midsize Business Technology Plans & Purchase Intent, breaks down the current use of cloud along with those planning on using cloud services in the near future. The report shows that 61% of small to mid-size businesses are taking advantage of the cloud already, and an additional 5% of respondents plan to adopt some type of cloud service within the next year. For SMBs with 250 to 999 employees, 55% currently use the cloud. But for even smaller businesses with less than 20 employees, the cloud is even more vital, with 69% of respondents currently capitalizing on what the cloud has to offer. For businesses with small teams and tight budgets, the cloud is a convenient and cheap way to get more done with fewer resources.
Many cloud providers also allow small businesses to rent their clouds. This gives SMBs access to top-notch cloud technology, a tool that was once the exclusive privilege of established enterprises and corporations. Businesses can tap the cloud services that fit their unique needs, while enjoying scalability by paying for only the services they actually use. In a survey conducted by Oxford Economics, 43% of SMBs prefer cloud-sourcing to cloud providers rather than purchasing expensive and complicated onsite servers. Over the next five years, projected SMB spending on the cloud is expected to steadily grow by nearly 20%, showing that businesses are ready to invest in technologies that truly payoff. But unless SMBs can ensure that their cloud providers offer true data security and strict privacy measures, trusting sensitive data to unsecure cloud providers is a risky investment.
Africa is one of the fastest growing continents for cloud adoption, but according to the latest numbers from the Business Software Alliance, software piracy is at an incredible high of 80%. This rampant piracy costs small businesses millions in investments and threatens intellectual copyright. But with private cloud solutions, businesses can secure their projects without fear of hacking or leaks. As it stands, small businesses around the world haven’t made data security a priority. But improving security measures for company and customer data is a necessity for two main reasons. First, even if your business doesn’t hold any production secrets, a single security breach could significantly halt production or even damage company networks and computers if malware was introduced. Second, in the wake of revelations on the NSA’s PRISM program, customers will reward those companies that can guarantee privacy and anonymity with loyalty. But before choosing a third party cloud service provider, make sure your business has a strong internet connection or your own web servers, as you won’t be able to access stored information in the case of a downed connection.
Small Business in the Private Cloud
For many small businesses, finding a truly protected third party cloud service can be a challenge as many “secure” services on the market have security gaps that leave sensitive company and consumer data wide open to third party attacks and even governmental spying, in the light of the ongoing NSA PRISM scandal. One cloud storage and sync service that sets itself apart from the rest of the market is SpiderOak. This service provides SMBs with fully secure cloud storage and syncing, featuring all of the benefits of the cloud along with 100% data privacy. SpiderOak is available with onsite deployment for businesses that want their own private servers or through the cloud-sourcing to a private and strongly secured public cloud server.
SpiderOak protects sensitive business data with 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts and network devices can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords and data. All plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices and SpiderOak never hosts any plaintext data. This way, even if programs like NSA’s PRISM continue to stand unchallenged, customers can rest easy knowing that their data is truly protected and SMBs can gain diehard customer loyalty by publically securing consumer information. SpiderOak cross-platform private cloud services are available for businesses on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing for full flexibility and a mobile workforce.