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Dark Cloud on the Horizon?

Cloud Computing

Floppy disks and thumb drives are a thing of the past, but our universal reliance on computers, data, and the Internet is stronger than ever. Constantly improving technology has allowed many companies to completely restructure the way they conduct business, including the way that employees fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Notably, there has been a significant increase in jobs that allow individuals to work from home, with some companies encouraging the practice to cut down on overhead expenses. In reality, there are quite a few folks who can get their work done pretty much anywhere outside the traditional office or cubicle, and they can do so at any hour of the day, as long as they can easily access a computer or tablet and the Internet.

Of course, one of the main reasons that we are witnessing an increasingly peripatetic workforce is because of the explosion in online document storage and sharing services. There was a not too distant time in the past when employees had to utilize a company-issued laptop or desktop in order to take advantage of company-specific resources, such as its network, software, files, and documents. However, more and more businesses, across a variety of industries and sectors, have turned to or are making the shift toward cloud computing. By centralizing online data storage and providing remote access to computer resources, cloud-based applications and services have revolutionized the way that companies are operating.

As amazing as online computing has become, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which service to trust and which service it may be wise to avoid. These days, there are quite a few providers to choose among, with more popping up fairly regularly. However, their unique capabilities and security practices vary greatly, and it is imperative to research a potential service provider thoroughly, especially for companies that may be entrusting sensitive and/or confidential company information. Obviously, choosing the right provider depends on the precise needs of each individual company.

Recently, more and more big names in the tech world are offering cloud services, often in conjunction with some of their other online services. And, some of these well-known companies tempt prospective users with unlimited storage capacity and surprisingly low rates, but getting a lot for very little may mean sacrificing security. Taking advantage of bundled services is clearly appealing, not to mention slightly less expensive due to the economies of scale that inevitably arise for large enterprises, but it may make businesses that depend on confidentiality vulnerable to unwanted exposure.

For example, any industry that is bound by confidentiality rules or relies on valuable intellectual property should be particularly careful about where they are storing certain documents, and not all cloud storage services employ rigorous security measures. In general, confidential documents belong in a secure document repository, such as a virtual data room that has strict security standards, including advanced encryption and two-factor authentication. In addition to controlling access, virtual data rooms are more likely to have specific tools that allow you to understand who is viewing your documents and when.

Again, deciding on a servicer really comes down to the value of the information that needs housing and the potential consequences of disclosure. And, we cannot help but reiterate that not all cloud services are alike so please research carefully and choose wisely!

Dropbox VS. Virtual data rooms