Cloud computing consists of using hardware and software over the internet. Here are some examples of cloud computing:
- Online Backup Services: A company allowing you to backup your devices to their data centers using the internet. Mozy.com and Carbonite are two examples of these companies.
- Email Hosting Services: Email companies hosting all services at their location freeing the customer of email hosting administration. Gmail is an example of Email Hosting.
- Application-Sharing Services: Having the ability to utilize applications through the internet. Google Docs is a great example. Google Docs allows you to use a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation application all through the internet.
All of these services are considered to be some form of Cloud computing and its popularity continues to grow. Obviously there are multiple reasons to go in this direction but the purpose of this article is to shed some light on some of the risks associated with this new technology. Keep in the mind the following areas.
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Security and Privacy
Your data will be stored off-site. Make sure you know if there is physical and logical security to your data. On top of that, find out how your data is stored. All data should be encrypted.
It is important to find out the up time versus down time. How are maintenance issues handled? Do upgrades take place on the same day or is it at their discretion? How is your internet connection? If you have an inconsistent internet connection, you might need to think of a different solution.
In the event of a disaster, how is your data backed up? Is it mirrored to a different group of servers? Are these servers located an adequate distance away from the primary servers? Is your data encrypted at both locations? How long can you expect downtime to be in the event of a disaster?
Where are the Cloud computing servers located? If they are located in different countries, find out if there are any legal issues you should worry about in the event of a disaster or the Cloud company going out of business.
Finally, what happens if the Cloud company goes out of business or is bought by another company? Is your data yours or will it be dissolved with the company?
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Although there are several benefits to Cloud computing, it is important to remember some of the risks associated with this new technology. Understanding these risks will help you make a more informed decision in choosing the right cloud computing company for you.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact The Whitlock Co. to request a consultation. We serve Kansas City, Springfield, and Joplin in Missouri.
written by Chris Griesemer, Partner