Computer technology has come a long way in the past few years, especially when it comes to big data. Now you can work wherever you are; attend meetings over the web; share data in the cloud; and make decisions real time. All this technology can help make a company more productive and to function at a higher level through encrypted information between its users and servers.
As you consider cloud-based services for your company, it’s important to account for benefits and risks.
- Cost Efficiencies: It costs less to store documentation in the cloud because there is no need for in-house server storage.
- Unlimited Access: Users can access the information any day / any time they wish. The information is reliable, consistent, and easy to update, making your business processes more efficient and effective.
- Reduced IT Complexity: Online apps reduce the burden on your IT staff to maintain cumbersome software and hardware while providing easily-accessible information.
- Diminished Maintenance: Because the hardware and software are housed with the service provider, your IT staff can free up their maintenance time to focus on more time-sensitive, IT business needs.
- Automatic Backups: When data is stored in the cloud, backup processes are developed by the service provider, and are done automatically. This is very important in case your business experiences a service interruption or physical destruction. The data is safe and secure.
- Data Security: Providing your data, as well as client data, to a third-party is your biggest risk. When data is stored in a cloud-based system, anything from system component vulnerabilities to breaches and incidents due to malicious acts. It can be a big challenge for service providers to demonstrate how their data is protects, as well as share their liability clauses with clients.
- Connectivity is Key: A strong Internet connection is required to work with a cloud-based service solution. Remember, they are working with several clients per day, churning data to and fro. Without a solid, high-speed connection you risk losing clients due to load speeds and portal access hick-ups.
- Service Providers: Moving from one cloud-based provider to another could pose a problem due to confidentiality clauses. Be sure you understand the process before signing with any providers.
- Less Control: Once your data moves to the cloud, you lose control and protection over it. Prior to signing an agreement with a provider, understand their terms of service, such as up time, redundancy plans, backup procedures, and more. Also, research the provider to determine their reputation. Ask if you can speak with some of their clients.
Now that you are armed with this information, you can ask the right questions to help you make a cloud-based-solution-provider decision. What’s your biggest concern about leverage cloud-based technology?
About the Author
Ronald Angulo is an audit senior associate and a member of the Forensics and Cybersecurity Practice at LB Goodman & Co. He has extensive audit experience working with multi-national companies and is a 2003 graduate of Universidad Autonoma del Caribe in Columbia.