Tips for Optimising Your Cloud Storage in 2018

Cloud Storage
Optimising your Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a marvel of modern computing, allowing data to be stored more cheaply and accessed more flexibly than ever before. However, as the amount of business data being stored in the cloud grows, it has the potential to become an unruly monster that is difficult to manage and keep track of. There are a few things you can do to ensure your cloud-based data remains an efficient part of your business.
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4 Ways to Ensure Your Data is Secure in the Cloud

Cloud ComputingGoogle+ is Google’s social network, and anyone with a Gmail address has a profile.  Officially, Google+ has more than 2.5 billion users, although not all of them are active. But Google+ holds some form of user data about every one of those people, and many of them have never checked their settings.

Head to your account, and you’ll be able to review Google’s data sharing defaults. A few settings will surprise you. Did you know that Google can use your public photos as background images on someone else’s TV? Or that your geographical photo metadata is shared when you send a link to a photo, by default? Granted, they’re not sinister settings, but it offers a hint as to why some people are reluctant to trust their data with the cloud.

Here are 4 simple ways to ensure your data is secure.

1. Choose a reputable business cloud provider

Getting the right provider is key to a successful cloud rollout. Look for a company with a proven track record in serving business clients. While many employees will default to using consumer products like Dropbox, this should be discouraged, since they are not designed to offer the robust SLAs that businesses require, and expect.

2 Ensure your data stays in the UK

Corporate cloud users should ensure that their data is stored in the UK. Once the data crosses a geographical boundary, such as being mirrored in another continent, legal rights and security requirements are less clear than they are if you ‘play safe’. Even within the EU, it’s difficult to ascertain exactly which laws would apply if you wanted to hold the provider liable for something. If in doubt, don’t export your data – choose a provider that stores it all within your geographical boundary.

3 Check the encryption

Cloud4’s customers benefit from the same grade of encryption that is used by British banks. When your data is at rest in our cloud storage service, we use a 128-bit encryption key, which would take 1,440,000,000 years to crack in a brute force attempt. That’s just an example; we use different types of encryption to keep your data secure in transit and at rest.

4.  Train employees to work securely

No matter how good your encryption, and your local laws on privacy, your security is only ever as good as the policies you have in the workplace. If your employees are using weak passwords, or logging on with infected mobile devices, security issues are always going to be a lingering threat. Make sure employees know how to use two-factor authentication, and make password training part of each employee’s induction phase.

Proactive data security

Cloud technology can be compliant. It can ensure privacy and security of data. Often, cloud technology is more secure than on-premise solutions it replaces, because you have the invaluable backing of a third party provider who adheres to the latest security standards. To find out more about the ways we protect your data, call Cloud4 for a chat today.

We’re ready to take your call on 0161 850 1264.

Have You Got a Disaster Recovery Plan?

Enterprise level clients have disaster recovery procedures as a matter of course. When you have thousands of clients, and the pressure of regulatory compliance, it would be unthinkable to operate IT systems without some kind of ‘plan B’ in place. For the smaller business, disaster recovery features less prominently in the IT strategy; many don’t have a plan at all.

In fact, SMEs are more vulnerable when outages occur, since it doesn’t take much to wipe out critical systems. If your computer updates itself and the result isn’t pretty, could you feasibly continue – ‘business as usual’ – the next day?

The Bare Necessities

Your idea of essential services will vary from your peers’, but there are a few systems which every business needs to be up and running. Remove any of these tomorrow, and the whole house of cards would come crashing down:

– Email

– Telephone systems

– CRM systems

– Desktop operating systems

– Vital infrastructure (such as the internet connection that links you to the outside world)

You might assume that you have a fairly good handle on things, given that you oversee and run all of these systems yourself. Unfortunately, this can leave you wide open to unexpected disruption, and your competitors will not fail to take advantage if your customers are forced to look elsewhere.

Affordable Disaster Recovery

For small businesses, running your IT as lean as possible is key to managing cost. While it would be nice to have spare servers, internet connections and computers lying around, that isn’t practical for the vast majority.

Cloud computing has made disaster recovery much more accessible, and that’s mainly because of the huge economy of scale. If you use hosted services, you can purchase a tiny share of overall capacity, but benefit from the same comprehensive disaster recovery plans as bigger clients. The secondary benefit is that someone else handles the technical side for you.

Take email for example: it’s probably the most crucial system in a business’ lifecycle. Let’s say your mailbox is corrupted. If that mailbox is located on your local server, you own the problem, and your email won’t work until it’s resolved. If you use a service like hosted Exchange, your mailbox is stored remotely on your service provider’s server; they are responsible for its uptime.

The hosted Exchange provider continually monitors and scans that mailbox for viruses. It’s less likely to experience a problem because it’s proactively managed and secured. But if the worst happens, the host’s cloud-based infrastructure means it can bring another copy online. You didn’t have to pay for another server, or find an out-of-hours engineer to sort it out.

There are other good examples of cloud infrastructure providing disaster recovery. The hosted desktop is a good one. Unlike your local desktop, the hosted desktop is stored remotely, backed up several times, and can be replaced with a clone if the worst does happen.

Take Action

Small businesses know that disaster recovery plans are expensive. That’s no reason to ignore the threat and hope it goes away. By moving towards a cloud-based infrastructure, you can automatically protect yourself against the risk of DR, ensuring continuity in the services that matter most.

Cloud4 helps thousands of businesses reach their full potential with affordable, innovative cloud services. If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan, don’t wait until the worst happens. Contact us today, and we’ll talk you through the options.

 

Why is Cold Storage a Hot Topic?

Have you completed your annual office spring clean? Chances are you uncovered all kinds of paperwork stuffed into files; things you’d ‘get around to’; certificates for all those courses you attended; perhaps a few photos from the Christmas party that would really be best forgotten. Most of our kids have shoeboxes full of photos, drawings and pictures – objects that they might want to look back on in their later years.

Archiving is something of a human instinct, whether it’s hoarding food or saving for a rainy day. The same is true of our digital habits. As we amass more and more data, we’ve started to run out of space on our hard drives, and all of those 1s and 0s get expensive – fast.

Cloud Storage Solutions

There are various types of cloud storage, and they’re not necessarily made equal. Choose the wrong one, and you might find that your data becomes a cost burden.

At Cloud4, we offer four services in the data storage market:

  • Business online backup, which backs up files and applications, and provides a version history
  • Synced storage for file sharing and easy access across devices; this is called MyOwnCloud
  • Network storage, a bulk storage option with a set cost per gigabyte
  • FTP, which is essentially a hosted storage option for large files, using the file transfer protocol

Across these four services, we can see some distinct use cases. Synced storage for sharing is unlikely to be suitable for a company that needs a huge amount of archival space. And storing the data on a server is not desirable if you plan to give out FTP details to that space.

Hot and Not

Cold storage is, as the name suggests, a deep freeze for your data. This is a perfect example of cloud technology coming into its own. It’s great for archiving documents, such as contracts, invoices, and your accounts for the last 10 years. It can also be used for personal storage, like the archiving of digital photos.

Cold storage is cheap because it’s not designed to be accessed often. Once you place data into a cold store, you have to pay to get it back out, and retrieval might take a few hours.

A key component of cold storage is the ability to back up incrementally. The first backup – when you send all of those documents to the cold store – might take days, or weeks. After that, you’re just going to top up the new stuff; the old files will not be transferred again. We compress data before transmission to make the backups as painless as possible.

Find Out More

If you’re currently using a mass storage solution like Dropbox, you’re probably putting your data at risk. For one thing, Dropbox isn’t a backup solution. And if you pay for it, it’s not cheap. You’d be far better off using a business grade cold storage solution for your files and slashing your costs in the process.

If you’re not sure what kind of cloud storage you need, contact us at Cloud4 today. We have a wealth of experience on our website, in our FAQs and via our Live Chat, and we’ll guide you through the different services to help you get the most from the cloud.

Why Online Backup for Business?

Online Data Backup
Why Online Backup?

Getting your business data backup process right has always been important! Never more so than in these days where your mission critical data is the single most valuable asset that your business has. For more and more businesses, online data backup has become the way forward! Continue reading Why Online Backup for Business?