Customers and the Cloud: Convincing People that the Cloud is Safe and Migration is Worth It


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The cloud can be a tough sell.

A lot of customers have security concerns regarding the cloud – they remember the Target breach that compromised tens of millions of credit card numbers. They remember the Home Depot breach that did the same. Those 2 companies have indeed been hit with tens of millions of dollars in expenses as a result of those breaches.

Companies have heard these stories and they don’t want to risk financial ruin. According to a recent survey the majority of small businesses have migrated to the cloud, but 48% still haven’t. Security concerns are perhaps the most significant factor regarding why that figure isn’t lower than 48%.

Furthermore, even if companies are comfortable with the cloud, they’re aware that many of their customers aren’t. In addition to those infamous Target and Home Depot breaches, there was that high-profile iCloud hack with all those private photos of celebrities being leaked, and customers (understandably, of course) don’t want to risk having their own privacy violated.

But contrary to these concerns, using the cloud is actually more secure than using on-site IT equipment. And there are additional benefits to using the cloud that many businesses and customers aren’t aware of as well.

Here’s how you can convince people that the cloud is right for them:

1. Using the Bank Analogy to Ensure the Cloud is Secure

A lot of people don’t trust the cloud because it means their data is out of their hands. They’d prefer to have more control. That feels more secure.
But being in control of your data isn’t necessarily the safest option. In fact, in most cases it isn’t – especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The cloud is more secure because top cloud providers like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. have an incredible amount of resources to dedicate to IT security, much more so than companies with smaller budgets (which are most companies).

For the typical office, all that’s stopping an intruder from accessing your office (and therefore your IT equipment) is a locked door.

Google and Microsoft and the like are much more intimidating to would-be intruders – their datacenters have high fences topped with barbed wire, guards at every access point, additional guards on patrol, badges with photo ID issued to employees so security staff can make sure no one is anywhere they’re not authorized to be, servers kept in locked cages, 24/7 video surveillance, etc.

In addition to those physical measures, cloud providers also invest six figure salaries in the very best IT security talent in the field in order to keep themselves protected virtually as well.

Here’s a helpful analogy to illustrate this point – Is it safer to keep your life savings under your bed, or in a bank?
Sure, if you keep your cash stuffed under your mattress, you’ll know where it is at all times. But a bank has a vault, armed guards, cameras… it’s obviously safer. Just as how a cloud provider’s datacenter is obviously more secure than your office.

2. Companies Can and Should Add Extra Security with Client-Side Encryption, Regular Audits, Etc.

And in terms of control, even when you trust your data to a cloud provider there are still things you can do on your end to better protect yourself from cybercriminals.
For instance, while just about every cloud provider encrypts the data stored on their servers, unless you’re using certain security-focused providers there’s nothing encrypting the data in your office or while it’s in transit.

In that case, you’d be wise to invest in client-side encryption. Other security measures, such as regular audits and penetration testing, will help companies and customers retain some peace of mind while using the cloud.

3. Debunking the “Cloud Caused the Target, Home Depot, and iCloud Breaches” Myth

We already mentioned those infamous Target and iCloud breaches. A lot of people believe the cloud was at fault for those attacks. And why wouldn’t they? That’s how those incidents were reported by many major media outlets.

But these incidents didn’t have anything to do with security flaws inherent to the cloud. Hackers made their way onto Target’s systems by figuring out the network credentials to a third-party vendor Target was using (an HVAC company called Fazio Mechanical Services).

The same thing happened to Home Depot – hackers were able to penetrate Home Depot’s network after stealing the log-on credentials to one of Home Depot’s third-party vendors.
And according to Apple, the iCloud leak happened because “certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone.”

You can’t really blame the cloud for any of these breaches.

4. Mobility is a Key Convincing Point

Enough about security – rather than defend the cloud from its common critiques, let’s pivot and focus instead on a key benefit the cloud provides that legacy services do not.
Without the cloud, employees are limited. They can work on their assignments at their desks from 9 to 5, but they’re pretty much constrained to the office and office hours.

The cloud frees employees from their desks. It gives them the ability to access company data from anytime and anywhere they want – all they need is a smartphone/tablet/laptop and an internet connection. That means employees can keep working on assignments and communicating with the rest of your team when they’re away at a conference or off-campus for some other reason.

More availability makes employees more productive, and more productivity means business-owners will get more value out of all their payroll dollars and have an easier time meeting their revenue goals.

So the cloud allows you to produce more revenue, and contrary to popular belief, it’s actually your most secure data storage option. That should be enough to get any entrepreneur’s tongue watering for the cloud.

Alex Miller
Alex is an analyst at Clutch, a Washington, D.C. based IT research firm, where he is responsible for the cloud research segment. Alex is originally from Dalton, PA and graduated from the George Washington University with a B.A. in Philosophy & Public Affairs.


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