Cloud-based solutions have drastically changed the way that many businesses operate today. According to Forbes, 77 percent of businesses at least have a portion of their computing infrastructure within the cloud. The same report projected that businesses would average $3.5 million on cloud-based platforms, applications, and services in 2018 alone. If you want to place more of your own business within the cloud, there are several red flags you should avoid:
What is the password that you use to access your work computer? Is your confidential data and other important files password-protected? Are your passwords strong or weaker than you may think?
Studies have shown that weak passwords play instrumental roles in data breaches and other related cybercrimes. One report showed that some of the most popular passwords were “123456”, “password”, “12345678” and “qwerty.” One survey showed that more than 70% of online accounts are protected by duplicated passwords.
To protect yourself and your business within the cloud, require all staff members to use strong and unique passwords that are periodically changed.
The tips outlined below will help you to make sure your passwords are strong as possible:
- Length: Your passwords should at least be 8-12 characters long
- Non-Personal: Do not use any personal information (birthdates, anniversaries, high school names, nicknames, children’s names, etc.)
- Non-Sense: Avoid clear sentences or phrases. It should essentially be a nonsense collection of random words, phrases, letters and/or numbers.
- Characters: Mix in symbols, numbers and upper/lowercase letters within the password.
It may seem tedious and time-consuming to follow those steps when creating your passwords. However, it would be much more time-consuming to repair the damage from a data breach or identity theft caused by a weak password.
Manual Operations, No Automation
Another red flag that you should avoid is the overuse of manual processes. Your primary objective is to minimize the danger of human error within your business cloud solutions. The more tasks you automate, the lower your risk of human error.
For instance, miscalculations and typos can ruin the accuracy and quality of a customer invoice. Human error can also create major issues with the precision of your purchasing department or procurement procedures. Fortunately, you can use an online punchout catalog to automate these tasks and provide your customers with consistent quality.
You still must have a proper balance of moderation when it comes to automation. According to Forbes, excessive automation and digitization can turn your company into an easy target. Keep in mind that automation allows you to accomplish a lot with minimal effort. If done without a clear strategy and in moderation, though, the same benefit of minimal effort can be abused by hackers.
Overlooked User Agreements of All Cloud-Based Solutions
When was the last time you read the user agreement of a software program or application? In most cases, the average consumer will simply skip to the end and learn the rest as they go along. If you are not exactly clear on how the cloud-based solution works, then you may not understand how your data is obtained, stored and secured.
The user agreements will typically outline important steps that you must take to ensure your data remains protected and confidential. Refusing to examine the user agreement could potentially leave you and your business exposed as easy targets for cybercriminals.
Lack of Clear and Concise Strategy
There may be certain aspects of your business that flow smoothly without any pre planning or structured strategy. Protecting your business within the cloud is not one of those areas. You must have a clear and concise strategy that is properly relayed to your staff, contractors and even your customers.
When you first established your business, you develop a business plan and structured strategy to get your operation up and running. You more than likely review and even revise the business plan over time as you continue to expand your business with the goal of reaching more customers.
A result of that type of expansion and growth means that you will collect an abundance of confidential data that requires your protection and care. Without having a structured strategy in place, you are only setting yourself and your company up for failure.
Lack of Continuous Education and Training
With the increased awareness of cybersecurity, you may assume that your employees know how to use the internet in a safe and secure way. You may even think you know everything there is to know yourself – especially if you bear the bulk of your business burden. This level of complacency regarding continuous education and IT security training among your staff will increase the risk of various security issues – including data breaches, identity theft and other vulnerabilities.
In addition to initial training provided to newly hired employees, you should schedule periodic trainings and refresher courses. Stay up to date on new threats and security issues that may pose a problem for your staff and/or your customers. Doing so will help you to maintain a high standard of cybersecurity that your customers and your employees will appreciate.
Sharing Access without Caution or Consideration
There is a vast number of benefits and advantages of cloud-based solutions and services that make them worthwhile for any business. With a click of a button, you could easily share files, records, and other resources with your staff, contractors, clients, etc. However, with the same click, you could also share those valuable assets with cybercriminals and identity thieves. Therefore, you must always exercise caution when it comes to access authorizations. This not only applies to new hires and contractors, but also the removal of access for people that have done work for you in the past.