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Cloud Security: It’s Actually Real!

Cloud securityBreaches in data security can be scary. Surprisingly, compromised information doesn’t just pertain to consumer transactions (like the recent one at Target); it can involve sensitive patient information and other private data that’s supposed to be protected from criminal activity.

As these trespasses have occurred in the cloud, it has contributed to the misconception that somehow storing information in the cloud is risky. People erroneously believe that the cloud lacks “real” security. If the cloud were secure, the fact that at least 90% of healthcare organizations have had exposed or stolen patient information wouldn’t exist, right?

Wrong. Often these types of security breaches initiate from internal devices that distribute malware among other devices because they lack intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS). In other words, the security breaches happened because internal controls were lacking after the initial perimeter was penetrated.

Understanding Cloud Security

The public cloud is basically just storage, data and program execution through a data center that isn’t owned by the user. Options like NaviSite or RapidScale allow businesses to upload their data to a center that offers incredible scalability and accessibility.

But these providers also specialize in data security. In fact, they have the tools and security protocols in place to repel the constant bombardment of viruses, hackers, and other cyber-attacks.

Imagine a massive treasure vault. All those precious items located inside twenty feet of solid steel and concrete walls. But when a thief finally digs through the wall, he realizes that another, thicker wall is located behind the first. If he gets through that one, he discovers that another wall protects the treasure, and so on, and so on. This is how cloud security works.

Misconceptions

Yet, many business owners still feel that their data is somehow safer when it’s housed on their premises. That somehow having possession of a physical data center for storing information is more secure than utilizing a reliable cloud service provider.

Consider the previous ‘vault’ comparison. If inadequate IDPS is involved, the business is actually at greater risk to theft because once the first wall has been breached, the treasure is gone—metaphorically speaking, of course. But literally, if a business operates with a single firewall, that’s exactly what can happen.

Using a reputable cloud data center to store information is often superior to physical locations because of the services provided. Basically, once information gets connected to the Internet, having the data center close at hand really doesn’t matter. Having an expert staff who knows the latest and best cyber-security protocols, and who can react swiftly and ruthlessly to any threats is the best defense.

What’s Next?

Will any and all providers offer the same cloud protections and solutions? Of course not. But what a reputable service provider does offer is layers of firewall defenses and a professional staff who are attuned to virtual security and specialize in protecting information.

As technology advances, so will cyber crime. But business owners don’t have to be timid about cloud data centers, they just need a strategy. And just like every aspect of business, if the service is confusing or unknown, talk to an expert to find out more.

Unified Communications Systems Enrich Corporate Teamwork

CollaborationAdvances in communication technology are creating new ways for corporate teams to work together effectively, even when they are in different locations. One of the most effective methods of enhancing business collaboration is through utilizing Unified Communications (UC) systems.

Businesses adopting a UC strategy can further enhance UC effectiveness with these tips to improve collaboration:

Centralize Communications

An advantage of cloud-hosted unified communications is that data can be centralized into one database. This eases collaboration and ensures client histories are always available in one place. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking can further enhance collaboration by providing high bandwidth capacity that facilitates multiple, data intensive activities such as video conferencing.

Use the Cloud

Unified communication systems can be hosted on either private or public clouds, which can be easily accessed from diverse locations. Cloud-based services also enable employees access using personal smart phones and tablets, a helpful feature for businesses adopting Bring-Your-Own-Device initiatives.

Private cloud solutions remain within the organization’s firewall, but may not offer the same level of unfettered access as a public cloud UC solution. Both solutions offer users greater security, especially with regard to disaster recovery and data backups.

Identify Core UC Needs

Unified communications gives companies many options, including videoconferencing, desktop sharing, instant-messaging, and VoIP telephony. Before launching into UC, it’s a good idea to consult with reputable UC consultants to identify those services that will enhance specific business processes. These processes should be chosen for initial introduction.

Measured and Systematic Implementation

Start with a few features then gradually implement other features over time. For example, many companies start with audio and videoconferencing, instant messaging and VoIP then introduce unified messaging. This sequential approach is beneficial because it allows employees time to adapt to the new technology and reduces incidences of passive resistance and avoidance.

Benefits of Employee Training

As with any new technology, the implementation of appropriate training greatly enhances the success of unified communication systems. It’s wise to initiate training at an early stage before the new technology goes live and to follow this up with refresher training once employees start using the new features.

An article that appeared in the magazine, Campus Technology, reported that the transition to UC was easiest for those organizations that started training before implementation. In part this was because many employees felt the introduction of UC represented a significant change to their working environment.

UC Enhances the Work Environment

Unified communication technology greatly enhances collaboration among teams, especially those that are geographically separated. Although many employees may be broadly familiar with the features of UC, it is important that the introduction UC is well organized. A coherent introduction will allow employees to become proficient in the new technology.