How secure is cloud storage for your small business?

What you’ll learn:


Cloud storage is a safe and secure way for businesses to store important files. Not only does it make remote working and collaboration easier – it can help your business go paperless, removing the need to file away physical documents which can easily get lost, stolen or damaged. 


As an employer, you have a legal (and ethical) responsibility to keep your employees’ data safe – and cloud storage is one of the best ways to ensure this.

What is cloud storage?

Put simply, cloud storage is a digital means of saving files. Storing files within a secure online platform has two key benefits – you can access the documents saved there remotely, and decide who can access them by granting permissions.


Hosted by a third-party provider, cloud storage is essentially the online equivalent of a hard drive or shared server, but more secure and flexible.  


Using cloud storage you can send, edit and download files you need to your desktop anywhere, anytime, and often using any device. All you need is a secure internet connection.


How do small businesses use cloud storage?

Small businesses use cloud storage in many ways, including:


    Storing contracts – having one central location where contracts (for employees, suppliers or otherwise) can be accessed at any time or sent to be filled and signed.


    Managing invoices – keeping a record of which invoices have been settled, and which are outstanding, in folders ordered by client, supplier, or month.


    Sharing work – managing the flow of work in folders accessible by colleagues.


    Backing up files – if private servers or desktop working are preferred, cloud storage can also be used to make an online backup of files for peace of mind.


How safe is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is widely viewed as a safer and simpler way of working for businesses large and small. Here are a few reasons why:


  • Server backups. Servers tend to crash – and when they do, work can be lost. In the cloud, files are auto-saved, providing a more reliable way of backing up key documents to save you time re-creating them.


  • Less risk. Cloud storage is generally more secure than a private server. By storing your data in the cloud, it’s protected by more powerful servers owned by third parties – so it’s much less likely that your files will ever be hacked or lost.


  • Up-to-date systems. Cloud storage providers specialise in what they do – making use of best-in-class technology which is generally out of reach for companies managing their own private servers.


  • AI tools. The most sophisticated clouds are self-managed by artificial intelligence (AI), which monitors, manages and resolves issues – removing the potential for human error.


  • Encryption. Some cloud software providers encode all data held within the platform. Cloud encryption transforms data into code, decrypting it only for people who are permitted access, and scrambling it for any lurking cybercriminals.


  • Intrusion detection. If an intruder does manage to gain access to the cloud, you can be quickly notified of their IP address, device, and location – and then place restrictions on what they can do until you’ve investigated further.


Advantages of cloud storage

For many businesses, the main benefits of cloud storage are:


    Agility – with cloud storage you only pay for the capacity you need. Usage can be reduced or expanded to work with the needs of your business, which means you don’t overpay for capacity.


    Global scale – the world of business feels a lot more manageable when you don’t rely on paper and post. A cloud storage system can help you to expand your business around the world or hire employees from anywhere with ease.


    Cost effective – cloud storage is generally more affordable than equivalent physical hard drives and self-maintained storage networks.


    Large capacity before cloud storage, companies had to develop their own storage area networks. These were expensive to maintain as your business and infrastructure grew. With cloud storage you pay for the capacity you use, providing more flexibility.


    Enhanced security by regulating access and viewing or editing permissions, you can make sure all data on the cloud is used by only the right people.


Disadvantages of cloud storage

Of course, cloud storage might not be for everyone. We have seen high-profile data leaks in recent years as cybercrime has become more advanced. While third-party cloud hosts are generally a few steps ahead in terms of top-of-the-range security measures, there is still a slim chance data can be stolen.


Some cloud hosts also take ownership of all data that’s uploaded, which may not mean much in practice, but still might not sit well with some business owners.


How to choose the best cloud storage for your business

There are many factors a business should consider when choosing a cloud storage provider and package. Think about:


  • The amount of storage you require. If you’re a design agency, you’re likely to need a lot of storage – given the size of artwork files. On the other hand, if many of your files are Word documents and PDFs, you might not need as much capacity. Reflect on the size of the files you use and find a relevant cloud storage package.


  • Confidentiality. If you work in a business which manages sensitive data – such as financial or medical information – you’ll absolutely need a secure provider with high-grade encryption to make sure the data is protected.


  • Future plans. Select a cloud storage provider with your business ambitions in mind. If your plan is to grow rapidly over the next few years, it may be sensible to talk to your cloud storage provider about increasing your capacity in line with your growth forecasts.


  • Your budget. Be clear of your budget when you start shopping to make sure you find a storage provider that gives you what you need within your budget.

Cloud storage with Adobe Document Cloud and Dropbox integration


You can use Adobe Document Cloud to store and share large files online. It’s simple to upload any docs – including Word, Excel and PowerPoint files – to Document Cloud from any device. You can then manage files by renaming them, moving them between folders, and sharing them with anyone you want.


Alternatively, if you’re a Dropbox customer, you can open PDFs and preview Photoshop, Illustrator and XD files on desktop and mobile.

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