September 6, 2010
We’re always being warned about the many perils and dangers lurking in the deep dark recesses of the Internet. Those of us with children are constantly being urged to protect them from ‘Stranger Danger’ and Cyber bullying on chat rooms, instant messaging and social networks. According to the media, dating websites are full of predatory strangers waiting to murder us or empty our bank accounts. Scams, Identity Theft, Spam, Spyware, Adware, Malware, and Computer Viruses: the list of hazards goes on and on. It’s not just a web, but a veritable labyrinth full of pitfalls and hidden traps for the unwary.
So it stands to reason that a web-based, or SaaS system, for applications such as Document Management and Project Planning and Time Reporting, must be inherently unreliable, and the Cloud must be a bad place to store your data, right? Wrong! Entrusting your personal or business data to an outside company is a risky undertaking, isn’t it? Not necessarily!
To entrust your irreplaceable, confidential data to an external agency is a leap of faith, no doubt, and obviously you must choose your SaaS system very carefully. Choose a well-established and reputable service provider, however, and your data will actually be more secure than it would be on your own company’s data server. It’s not the Internet that is dangerous: it’s the people who use it, and the way that they use it. You wouldn’t hire a nanny for your children without checking out her references. You wouldn’t go on holiday and leave your house with the doors and windows open and unlocked. You wouldn’t leave your wallet on the bar counter while you go to the washroom. You wouldn’t lend your Credit Card to a stranger. At least, I sincerely hope you wouldn’t do any of these stupid things…
The beauty of SaaS is that it frees you up to access all your projects, files and folders any time and anywhere in the world, and sorts out all your security issues at the same time. It’s much more secure to use a SaaS service, when traveling or working from home, than it is to rely on portable storage devices such as laptops, CDs and data sticks, which are easy to steal, easy to lose, and are regularly left on trains, buses and in taxi cabs.
Still worried that the Internet is a dangerous place for your company’s confidential data? It’s very prudent of you to be aware of Internet security issues; we all know about the risks of hackers, viruses and Internet fraud. In order to fully benefit from the advantages of having your projects and documents online, you need to ensure that they are fully protected from hardware failure, good old human error, and from cyber attack. Look out for SaaS systems which offer additional security features for controlling file access and permissions. These will allow you to decide who can access your data, and also to control the level of access they are granted.
Any reputable SaaS provider will be ISO20000-certified, and will regularly back up all your files and folders. All data transmitted via the internet should be fully secure and encrypted. Your data should be stored in a secure server environment equipped with fire protection, climate control and using multiple internet connections with a range of internet providers. Before you sign up for a new SaaS system, check out that these safeguards are all included. With a reliable SaaS system in place, and all your security controls set up, you can relax and let your service provider take care of day-to-day chores like file back-up and data encryption. That will leave you free to spend more time doing what you are good at – running your business!
Charlotte Mooney is an IT professional with many years experience, currently working for International IT Software Consultancy Proswift, specializing in the Webforum online Document Management and online Project Planning Service. If this story strikes a chord with you, click here and check out what Webforum could do for you and your business – www.proswift.com/webforum