Tag Archives: Cloud

Major risks of not choosing the cloud

Given recent high-profile media reports of cloud hacks, it’s no wonder business owners are nervous about putting their operational data in the cloud, but is this fear justified?

With more businesses accepting that not having business data in the cloud is a bigger risk than trying to manage it in house, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Not all “clouds” are created equal

Reports of cloud hacks affecting one billion Yahoo emails and iCloud’s private image store are obviously worrying, but in a business context, these events are much less frequent and rarely, if ever, related to “true cloud”.

It’s important to recognise that not all clouds are created equal.

So, what is the cloud exactly? It’s still computers, databases and the internet but it’s important to look at how it’s configured.

Traditionally, software has been operated “on-premise”, which is a single version of software on the company’s server, connected to the company’s network, on the company’s premises and supported by the company’s own people.

It is purchased and owned by a single owner who is entirely responsible for the upkeep of the system.

State-of-the-art “true cloud” solutions work differently. True cloud providers deliver an application which serves multiple customers. It’s always up to date, capable of being configured to specific needs, globally accessible, requires no IT skills to manage, cost-effective due to a subscription-based model and sits separate from client data meaning that it’s far more secure.

Then there are the “fake cloud” solutions which are a hybrid. The software, servers, network and IT skills are outsourced. It is still a single version of software, but just not on your premises, and so the benefits of “true cloud” are not being enjoyed while the risks associated with on-premise are still very real.

The issues around on-premise and fake clouds

Up until a decade or so ago, on-premise was the only way a business could buy software and customise it to its needs.

The issues of going down this route is that software can go out-of-date very quickly and having to rely on updates and IT people to maintain it can be very expensive and sometimes, upgrades cause problems.

It’s also typical for companies using on-premise software to become “locked” to a version of software and later identify IT requirements for software as a bottleneck and not the enabling force that they had hoped for.

Of course, on-premise systems that rely on human intervention and manual processes are less reliable than a properly programmed application.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for business owners to back-up financial data to a USB stick and companies to faithfully back-up their data onto magnetic tapes that turn out to be blank.

Fake cloud environments are a poor compromise. The only “benefit” to the customer is that other people are “hosting” and managing their application for them (and charging them handsomely for it!).

So, with the upsurge in so-called fake cloud environments, it’s now difficult to be 100 per cent certain where the data resides, how it is segregated, protected and backed-up and exactly who can access it, move it, write to it or delete it.

Why is not choosing the cloud such an insider fraud risk?

For most businesses, data is critical. Lose the data, lose the business. Data is so valuable that it is equivalent to money.

If you choose to go on premise, this is akin to keeping your money in a shoe box under your bed, and by going with a hosted provider or a fake cloud environment, this is like keeping a box of money under someone else’s bed! Only a true cloud solution is like putting your money in the bank.

Insider threats present a far greater risk when you choose a solution that isn’t true cloud.

For instance, when business software provider, Sage, experienced a data breach potentially impacting 280 firms, it turned out to be a disgruntled employee.

This is not an isolated case. CIFAS’s Employee Fraudscape 2016 report highlights that 153 organisations identified a total of 585 confirmed insider fraud cases in 2015. This includes 38 cases of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing commercial or personal data.

Whether employees purposely commit fraud or do so through negligent/accidental behaviour, the fact remains that on-premise servers offer insiders far greater access to the company’s valuable data.

Don’t be a technological dinosaur

Dwelling in the past is not an option for progressive business owners. A true cloud business solution could make the difference between success and failure, with non-cloud solutions proving higher risk and more difficult and costly to change.

For many businesses, not choosing the cloud could see them left behind by their competitors and quite possibly extinct.

Andrew Peddie is MD of cloud solutions provider FHL

Image: Shutterstock

Read the original article on RealBusiness

From Sage to NetSuite (in just 8 weeks!)

When Allied Insulators Managing Director Jon Knapper opted for a management buyout, he was faced with a challenge.

Could he find a cloud based software system to run his new venture?

Even if he could, would it be possible to migrate all his business information from Sage without interrupting the business?

Jon had just 8 weeks to accomplish this.

NetSuite solution provider FHL not only achieved this, they delivered:

  • 70% reduction in manual processes
  • 80% reduction in paperwork, filing and data entry
  • 100% cloud based solution

“Thanks to FHL, our day to day operation is extremely smooth” says Jon.

This Reels in Motion video production sums the project up nicely in under 3 minutes.

More videos soon…

Cloud security – myths and truths

Even in this day and age, some businesses remain fearful of the Cloud. Are they right to be circumspect and untrusting? Is Cloud data an open door to hacking and cyber-crime or is this an irrational fear? We’ve all seen sensationalist media coverage around Cloud security involving celebrities, banks and even accounting software, so what is the truth?

Data security for a business is paramount and with so many companies feeling comfortable about moving their business to the Cloud, surely the Cloud cannot be as risky as we are led to believe? But how do we distinguish the myths from the truths?

Myth 1 – All Clouds are created equal

What is “The Cloud” really? It’s still computers, databases and the internet. There are so many different offerings of “Cloud” services that bunching them all together under one heading can be misleading. At a personal level, for example, most people don’t know where their data is anymore. So when you save your iPhone photos to iCloud or manage your Facebook profile, where does that information reside? Who takes care of it? What happens if you can’t access it one day or it disappears altogether? This may be a small risk to an individual but this level of uncertainty would be entirely unacceptable for a business.

Myth 2 – Cloud business systems employ the same level of security

Obviously, enterprise class business systems need to be far more secure than personal ‘data Clouds’. However, you can’t assume that all Cloud business solutions have the same level of security.

The measures different providers put in place can be worlds apart! ‘Best in class’ Cloud providers have extremely tight security measures in place, including:

  • Top quality data centre architecture that includes two geographically separate data centres.
  • Application security comprising industry standard SSL encryption and application-only access so that users can only access the application features and not the underlying database.  Audit trails, restricted user access, IP address restrictions and robust password policies are also key for making sure a business’ data is as secure as possible.
  • Continuous system monitoring by a dedicated security team so that any suspicious activity is quickly identified and dealt with.
  • Background checks on Cloud provider’s staff and strict physical access restrictions to the data centres.
  • ‘Best in class’ security certifications, providing independent verification of the system’s security credentials.

Research is a must here. Security is a primary consideration and so each business needs to conduct its own diligence.

Myth 3 – Choice of technology partner has little bearing on Cloud security

The term “Cloud Computing” is popular so it stands to reason that traditional software companies see a wider market for their applications if they, too, are “Cloud”.

Be wary of re-engineered applications, or as some people call them “fake Clouds” which could be something as simple as your own software running on someone else’s server. This is not solving the challenge of moving to the Cloud, this is just taking your server off your premises and moving it somewhere else.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of “true Cloud”, look for a partner who works only with true Cloud applications and does not volunteer for the onerous task of providing hosting.

Myth 4 – On-premise systems are so much safer

It’s interesting that so many business leaders still consider on-premise business systems as so much safer than Cloud solutions. Yet storing data on-premise is akin to keeping all your money in a shoe box under the bed.

Far too many businesses still have on-site servers that are inherently risky due to location, questionable back-up processes and defective security measures. Servers in unsecured places and business owners with data backed up to USB devices on keyrings are worryingly common.

And how many businesses test whether their servers could be restored if there was a devastating fire, for example?

Whilst cyber-crime needs to be protected against, how many business owners seriously protect themselves against threats from ‘insiders’? The malicious theft of data from a disgruntled employee, a fraudulent act from an unscrupulous insider and negligent/accidental behaviour that creates a security breach, are still far more common than cyber-attacks. An on-premise server offers ‘insiders’ far greater access to the company’s precious data!

It’s important to keep concerns about the Cloud in context. If the combined purchasing power of a global installed base can make best-in-class security and availability affordable to the majority, then surely anything that takes the risks out of a business is a good thing? Best-in-class Cloud software is out there and so perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about what could happen, and look to see what’s available now and how it could help your business?


First published on Compare the Cloud.


Top mistakes when choosing a cloud partner

Choosing a new or replacement business system can be a daunting task which is complex and fraught with risk. Cloud technology projects are no different. In fact, a project to implement a new cloud solution is like conducting open heart surgery on the business. The technology partner is the equivalent of the skilled surgeon who ensures the operation is a success with no loss of life and minimal side effects. With so much pressure on the business to ‘get it right’, it’s staggering how many companies put little thought into choosing their partner.

Read full article… 

Published on www.thecsuite.co.uk

SuiteWorld 2015 Keynotes

Did you miss this year’s SuiteWorld 2015 Keynotes, or want to watch them back again at your leisure? Here they are in all their glory…

The End of the Beginning

Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite
5 May 2015

Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, reveals “The End of the Beginning” focused on how the accelerated rate of change is disrupting every industry and changing the buyer experience.

The Platform for Disruption

Evan Goldberg, Founder, CTO & Founder of NetSuite
6 May 2015

Evan Goldberg, CTO, Chairman of the Board and Founder of NetSuite, focuses on “The Platform for Disruption” that enables any business to adapt with agility and flexibility.

What Your Business Will Look Like in 2020

Fred Studer, CMO of NetSuite
7 May 2015

Fred Studer, CMO of NetSuite, will inspire audiences with “What Your Business Will Look Like in 2020” and how NetSuite is positioned to deliver the customer experience of the future.