Monthly Archives: January 2016

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Is the Cloud Secure?

 

There seems to be a common misconception about the cloud not being secure. Organizations are worried that by utilizing the cloud, they risk compromising important company information and confidential data. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, the cloud adds security to your environment and workspace. It is more secure than using your laptop! A global study of more than 4,000 organizations done by the Ponemon Institute Thales e-Security found that using the cloud for processing and storing critical data is almost an inevitable solution. More than half of all participants responded that their organizations already transfer sensitive or confidential data to the cloud while only 11% say that their organization has no plans of doing so. This is down from 19% two years earlier (Forbes).

Think of cloud security in terms of accidentally downloading a virus. When you do so on you work laptop, there is a good chance it will corrupt all your important files and information. You will then notice your computer running slowly and your private data is now compromised. However, if you were to download the same virus on your virtual laptop, the same thing should happen, right? Actually, that is wrong. As soon as you are aware that you have a virus, you can have your administrator pull your desktop back in time to before the virus was downloaded. Literally, you have the ability to revert back in time to the previous “image” of your desktop. You’re no longer vulnerable to that virus and your private data is no longer being compromised.

2When Sony Pictures Entertainment experienced a cyber-attack around the release of their movie “The Interview”, a hard and expensive lesson was learned. Not only were Sony’s eyes opened to the other security requirements for their industry, but businesses began considering the costs of managing and securing their information in-house rather than utilizing the cloud. The cyber-attack on Sony cost them around $100 million, not including the loss incurred by the hit to their reputation. They’ve had to invest an abundance of time and energy into rebuilding and diagnosing what really caused the security breach. The unending amount of fees they face such as responding to investigations from the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, and potentially state attorneys general, will definitely add up and put a financial burden on the company. It also caused an insurmountable loss of good-will for Sony. They also lost valuable information like strategic planning and trade secrets that affect a corporation’s profits. The hackers got ahold of confidential personnel records of its employees and various embarrassing emails from executives, all of which endangered Sony’s relationships with employees, talent, contractors and vendors (Logicworks).

Had Sony been utilizing cloud services, the situation would not have unfolded in the detrimental way that it did. Their valuable information would not have been lost as it would have been stored safely in the cloud. With the extensive security placed within the cloud, hackers would not have been able to access any of their confidential personnel records. This would have ultimately avoided the situation and saved Sony from the losses that occurred.

More and more organizations are moving to the cloud, and rightly so. The security only continues to improve and the risks of in-house assets continue to rise. Forbes says that 47% of marketing departments will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform in two years. This year will be the year that the doubts of cloud security will be put to rest. Don’t put yourself in a Sony situation.


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4 Myths About Mobility in the Workplace

small-business-lender

The use of mobile devices for business can no longer be ignored. It’s changing the way business is done and that’s proving to be a positive thing. While many organizations have taken this development in stride, others are turning a blind eye to the inevitability of business mobility. Research and statistics show that technology brings many advantages to the table, and70% of professionals will work via smart, mobile devices by 2018. Why leave your professionals in the dust? Let’s debunk some of the major myths regarding mobility in the workplace.

Myth #1: Your employees will be less productive.

Today, your employees will actually be less productive if they’re chained to one location, without the option for mobility. The fact of the matter is that work productivity is a management problem, not a technology problem. 90% of business communications stretch far beyond the local workplace – so why limit employees to that local workplace? Imagine that an employee has to leave the office for a meeting or to make a sale. It’s counterproductive for that employee to head back to the office to complete and submit a form, and it’s not good for your customer service if employees in the field can’t access necessary data or complete deals on the spot. Business mobility strategies actually save time and can ultimately increase sales by giving employees the tools they need to make quick decisions. These capabilities also improve a business’ reputation.

64% of employees conduct some sort of business after hours at home. The magic of cloud computing and mobile devices is that they allow people to complete business tasks from any location, at any time. This actually increases productivity, allowing your employees to produce the same quality of work while away on a business trip or otherwise working remotely.

Myth #2: Mobility will make your business less secure.

Of course, as with most technology, there is risk associated with business mobility. But, as with most technology, risk can be addressed.

As you implement mobility into your business, you simply need to focus on risk management and security. By paying attention to Mobile Device Management, analytics, encryption, authentication and strict policies, you can implement a mobile strategy in a risk-free way.

Many studies show that employees are already using smart devices for work, with or without company approval. Rather than ignoring this fact or expecting to put a stop to this trend, address it by creating a company-wide policy. This should include the acceptable use of devices, security measures, technical standards, etc. Check out this article for guidelines on how to do BYOD the right way. This can (and probably should) be something that employees are required to sign off on. It should also be accessible to employees at all times.

Though employee policies tend to fall to the Human Resources department, this is a process that should include the IT team and others with a knowledge of technology and mobility. By combining policies with training on the importance of data security and user diligence, the risk of business mobility becomes no greater than that of other business initiatives.

Myth #3: All mobile devices are the same.

You may be thinking, “Well of course they’re not all the same,” but too many businesses today are treating all devices equally. People use different devices for different reasons. Compare the typical use of a laptop vs. smartphone vs. tablet. Of course there is overlap, but one policy won’t necessarily cover the essentials for all of these devices. They might each require unique management strategies, so a business should address that when moving forward with a mobility strategy.

Myth #4: Business mobility is optional.

The fact is that mobility is a huge part of the business world already. Almost 1/3 of enterprise data is accessed through mobile devices today. Organizations ignoring this fact might find themselves falling behind. Today, a great business strategy practically requires a mobility strategy, as it factors into employee productivity, company collaboration, business profits, customer service, marketing and much more. And any business expecting to grow will need to give employees the ability to access business data on the go. The trend towards mobility is driven by a desire for greater productivity and flexibility. To ignore it would be counterproductive for a business.

Don’t let your business down. Mobility in the workplace is important. By debunking these popular myths, we hope to help businesses adopt a mobility strategy that is both effective and safe.


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