The cloud may be popular, but that’s not reason enough alone to migrate your data to a cloud solution right now – especially when it comes to Business Continuity, and how the cloud could affect it.

The cloud can play an important role for USVI businesses – but maybe you think it’s still just a fad, and not actually here to stay.

But you’d be wrong…

Long story short – the cloud is here to stay. That’s why you need to know what it has to offer you.

But to start, let’s consider the cloud in general…

What Is The Cloud (And What Does It Do?)

In a nutshell, the cloud is a network of technologies that allows access to computing resources, such as storage, processing power, and more. That’s where the data is – in these data centers all around the world. Which data center your data is in depends on what cloud service provider you’re working with.

Why bother with the cloud?

  • Computing Power
    The cloud has the ability to activate tens of thousands of CPUs. This unparalleled power can quickly perform deep analytics of your data, and process nearly any ad-hoc queries that you require.
  • Reliable Costs
    The cloud services subscription model offers the strategic advantage of low-cost, low-risk opt-in combined with a simple, predictable monthly fee.
  • Easy Scalability
    Cloud services have the unique strategic characteristic of being able to stretch or shrink to suit your current level of demand. This is especially useful for businesses of any scale that will change in size over time.
  • Real-Time Collaboration
    With cloud technology, your staff doesn’t have to wait for each other to be done with their part of the document or project in order to tackle their own aspect. They can all work on the same project at the same time to maximize productivity.
  • Remote Work Capability
    This cloud feature allows you and your employees to work remotely as need be, which will give your staff the flexibility they desire to have a more balanced home/work life.

What Does The Cloud Offer?

Eliminate Onsite Infrastructure

You can increase collaboration and simplify management by hosting your data and applications through the cloud instead of onsite. It shouldn’t have to be said at this point, but just in case you’re still in the past – get rid of your on-site hardware.

Before the cloud, onsite servers were a must for any organization that wanted to succeed, but no longer. Today, you don’t need to purchase, install and maintain onsite servers- with the cloud, you outsource it all to a data center instead.

By choosing a cloud solution instead of conventional infrastructure, you will enjoy all the benefits of an up to date and optimized IT infrastructure, without having to pay more than your monthly service fee.

This is so basic in today’s modern business world that to continue purchasing and maintaining costly on-site hardware is essentially fiscal negligence.

Harness New Tools and Technology

With Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, many barriers to entry with the cloud (and subsequent advantages) have all but disappeared.

The cloud has only improved that capability, allowing businesses to develop a hybrid environment, achieving greater reliability and a redundant data failsafe.

Advantages include:

  • Scalability and the ability to adjust as demand for services increase or decrease
  • Web access to data without the need to store information on computer devices
  • Secure remote access to applications and data
  • Access from mobile devices via the internet
  • Access to a much larger ecosystem of information and a wide range of services.

Cloud services, by storing data offsite in secure, maintained data centers, allow organizations to take advantage of storage services at a fraction of the cost of housing them internally. This results in reduced capital expenses and reduced staffing needs as well.

Use Data To Your Advantage

Did you know that 66% of organizations that consider themselves completely successful with Business Intelligence initiatives currently use the cloud?

With the right information, each choice you make can have attainable and expected positive results for your business; without that information, you may as well be gambling with the future of your company.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is the collection and analysis of data collected such as department productivity, overall growth, sales trends, and customer behavior. Applications of this data can range from something as simple as Spreadsheets for the organization, and storage of data to Online Analytical Processing or Reporting and Querying software. Each has a specific use and offers various benefits to your small business.

Reporting and querying software extracts, sorts, summarizes, and presents selected data. This data could range from sale reports of specific items to a measurement of the efficiency of marketing plans.

How Can The Cloud Hurt Your Business Continuity?

Many businesses believe that just because the program already exists in the cloud, all of their important information is being backed up automatically to a secure location, but this is not the case.

Your cloud can be easily integrated into your business’ overall Business Continuity solution – but in failing to do so, you can expose yourself to a number of risks. Your data won’t be…

  • Safeguarded from the most common cause of data loss – user error
  • Made recoverable from data loss resulting from a system error
  • Protected against a wide range of internal and external threats
  • Available whenever you need it, and in the proper format – no exceptions

Having these additional levels of protection and availability in place for your SaaS (Storage as a Service) applications is necessary to meet basic data security needs for your business.

4 Reasons To Double-Check Your Cloud & Business Continuity

The core consideration here is your ability to keep your data backed up. While almost anyone using a computer for work would understand the nature of why backing up your data is important (don’t forget that hard copies are often still filed in triplicate as a contingency), it’s likely you don’t know of each and every application that an effective data backup can have.

To start, here’s the top 4:

  1. Data retention contingencies
    At the rate that technology evolves (and how quickly your standard operations and concerned policies are required to keep up with it), it’s no surprise that some businesses find it difficult to keep up with.

    When policy development falls behind the pace of adopted technologies, it can often lead to gaps, which can affect data retention. The fact is that many cloud solutions only have limited backup and retention policies, equipped to handle situational data loss – not comprehensive.

  2. Cybercrime
    Data loss is often the result of poor digital security; without the right defenses, cybercriminals can easily infect an IT system with ransomware or other types of malware and compromise company data.

    You may have heard that the right antimalware solution will minimize the chance of data loss, but what about internal threats? It’s not fun to think about, but internal security threats (i.e. malicious employees) can cause just as much damage as external cybercriminals.

  3. Human error
    A majority of cybersecurity services offered today include the best in vital technologies, from firewalls to anti-malware to data encryption and more. However, as important as this technology is, on its own, it simply isn’t enough. The key to truly comprehensive cybersecurity (and therefore, data protection and data backup) is simple, yet often overlooked: the user.

    “Set it and forget it” firewalls, antivirus software, and yes, backups, fail to account for how important the user is. Even the most effective data integrity measures can be negated by simple human error, which is why conventional solutions are simply not enough to make sure your data is protected.

    Much of data protection is dependent on the user, and as such it’s vital that you properly educate your employees in safe conduct. The more your workforce knows about the security measures you have in place, the more confidently they can use the technology is a secure manner.

    Human error can be detrimental to data integrity. Without a viable backup, all it takes is one accidental click to delete a file, or one spilled coffee to fry a local hard drive.

  4. Maintaining compliance
    When it comes to modern compliance requirements, redundant data backups are critical. You’ll want to make sure you know what’s required of your industry’s compliance regulations, and make sure you have backup methods in place to meet those. The default backup capabilities offered by cloud solutions may not suffice for the most stringent regulations.

Still Confused About The Cloud’s Business Continuity Considerations?

To fully benefit from the cloud without hurting your business continuity, you should develop a strategy that complements their organizational goals.

Cloud solutions for USVI businesses will continue to provide new and improved capabilities as more advances are made – but if you’re unsure of how to go about this, consult with an IT company to get an expert consultation.

Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more:

How Can You Protect Your Data in a Natural Disaster?

How Can You Protect Your USVI Business From Ransomware?

Hurricane Preparedness (Questions/Answers)