Is the Cloud Secure? Part 2

The cloud has been a great thing for small business owners fighting through tough economic times. Instead of purchasing pricey enterprise software, business owners can save their dollars by accessing powerful computing programs in the cloud, from high-end word processors and project-management tools to spreadsheets and Photoshop alternatives. But, the cloud isn't perfect, particularly when it comes to security issues. Entrepreneurs must be aware that their documents, presentations, and marketing materials can be damaged when they're stored in the cloud.

Password issues

Password protection is a crucial issue when dealing with the cloud and personal computers also. Passwords can often be easily guessed or they are shared too freely.

Business owners should be careful to choose passwords to their cloud projects that are challenging for others to guess. The best solution is for owners to include a mix of letters and numbers in their passwords. Owners also need to be careful about sharing their passwords with a lot of people. The more people who have access to passwords, the more vulnerable important data and documents are.

Hacker alert

Hackers, malware, and spyware remain serious issues for cloud environments, just as they are problems that business owners face when logging onto their personal computers everyday. What makes this particularly scary is that individual business owners have little control over how secure cloud services are. The big names -- companies like Microsoft and Google -- must supply their own security for the data that business owners store in the cloud.

Common sense protection

As with all computing, companies can protect themselves from the loss or theft of data with some common-sense practices.

First, sensitive data is probably not the best thing to store in the cloud. If your data is so sensitive that a compromise on its security could spell the demise of your business, think about saving it on a physical computing system and implement a secure back up protocol that is more controllable.

Secondly, business owners must remain vigilant about who they allow access to their cloud-stored data, documents, and reports. Owners are mindful about whom they allow to access the files on their desktops and laptops and they should be equally careful when it comes to granting others access to their cloud-hosted information.