They are everywhere, just never where you need them: information. We now often work in different places with important documents, reports and documents. There is hardly an entrepreneur who only sits at the desk in the company headquarters. And in addition to customer appointments, remote locations and home offices, there are travel times by plane and train, in which you can work wonderfully – if the crucial data carrier or printout has not just been left on the wrong desk.
Working across locations doesn’t have to be stressful. But small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, where such burdens have a particularly strong impact, are often technically behind the possibilities. Or more clearly: While large corporations use cutting-edge IT services, SMEs shy away from digital upgrading.
More than just storage space – programs from the cloud
For fear of the security of their data, they rarely use the advantages of cloud computing. These offers are particularly lucrative for them. In addition to a virtual data center, cloud service providers often offer a range of interesting applications that quickly pay off. Special programs for resource planning or customer management are far too expensive as pure software – but affordable as a cloud solution.
Flexible in terms of costs, professional in use
For smaller companies, it is vital to professionalize their IT processes: from customer service to personnel time and attendance to logistics, almost all areas of the company are permeated by information technology. At the same time, it is impossible to further expand the in-house IT and to bear the costs of new specialists and training courses. For this reason alone, it is worthwhile to rely on cloud-based applications. Because here the costs remain flexible, manageable and transparent.
Only the right strategy offers security
The most important aspect is and will remain the question of data security, and rightly so. First of all, it is important to find out what type and importance the processed and stored data are and what paths they take in the company. If there are no internal experts available, external experts can create an IT strategy for this. It is the basis on which data is classified according to its sensitivity. As a matter of principle, no company should hand over its gold nuggets, i.e. particularly important data.
Clarify important questions in advance
There are many providers of cloud solutions – every entrepreneur should consider a number of criteria when choosing the right service provider (see checklist). Because the type of data transmission and the location of the provider are only a few indications of how secure the applications in the cloud are ultimately. In any case, it makes sense to define clear security and availability requirements. In addition, the company that transmits encrypted data should also be able to decode it – not the service provider.
Checklist for the right cloud service provider
Clarify the following questions before transferring data to the cloud:
- Should personal data be outsourced? Is there a contract for order data processing according to §11 BDSG?
- Is the service provider certified (e.g. according to ISO / IEC 27001)?
- Can you carry out an audit at the service provider? How can you also check the service provider and his work?
- How can data be transmitted in encrypted form? Who takes over the key management?
- Are the databases also encrypted and can the data be saved in a separate database?
- How secure is the data center in which the data is located?
- Has it been ensured that the data will be processed in the European legal area? The provider is only bound by European law if it is based in Europe.
- Does the service provider regularly create reports to document and monitor the handling of data?
- How do you get out of the cloud solution at a later point in time? Can the data be transferred back? Will the data be securely deleted afterwards?
In order for the step into the cloud to be reliable and secure, it is important to clarify these and other points in advance.
Conclusion: Finding the right cloud service provider is not that easy. But the effort pays off.