Recent outages at Xero and Amazon might have you wondering if you can really trust cloud services with your business. Here are some basic things to consider.
Scarcely a week goes by without a cloud service having some sort of failure. Online accounts service Xero was offline for almost three hours earlier this week. Although no data was lost and the outage was outside normal business hours so imapct on business customers wasn't too great.
Amazon was also in damage control, having to explain outages caused by server reboots taking longer than expected last week. Dropbox suffered a security issue last year where every user's data was exposed to the world for several hours.
So, can we trust cloud services?
There's a lot of comfort in having everything stored on servers and computers you can see and touch. Cloud storage and SaaS services offer lots of convenience but is that enough. How do you choose trustworthy cloud services?
Research is critical. If you're planning to use a cloud service for your business appraise it in the same way you'd look into any business partner. Just because a service is popular doesn't mean it's a good fit for you.
Look into the service and do some web searches for security and reliability issues. If the service has online forums, read them and get a feel for the sorts of issues and questions current customers are raising and whether the company answers questions and interacts with their customers.
It's worth investigating where your data is going to be stored. The last thing you want is to find out all your data has been subpoenaed because a foreign government has taken issue with either the service provider or another of their customers.
Lastly, compare your own security and IT situation to your prospective cloud provider. Chances are some cloud providers have much more secure server facilities than you might. And as we've explained here, when it comes to security, there are all sorts of ways attackers can target you - the cloud is just one.