How Can Using Cloud Storage Systems Help Your Business Continuity?

Posted By on December 10th, 2019

As a business owner you will undoubtedly have heard talk of cloud-based solutions and most likely be utilising some with your business operations. There are many benefits to using cloud-based services, but have you thought about how they can benefit your business continuity?

With such reliance on IT systems today to run businesses and a need to be always on, having your systems go down can be hugely detrimental to your business. So this may be why many businesses today are utilising cloud storage systems within their business.

What is a cloud storage system?

Traditionally businesses would have stored their data on internal servers, to an internal network or locally to individual machines.

A cloud storage system is system whereby you store your data on remote servers, usually owned by whichever cloud storage provider you work with. Your files can then be accessed via a network, the cloud (i.e the internet).

Typically, this means your data can be accessed from multiple desktop or mobile devices, from anywhere.

What are the benefits of cloud storage to business continuity?

Storing your data within a cloud storage system can have benefits to business continuity including

  • Many providers give the ability to restore and back up data. Backing up data is essential to ensuring your business continuity should anything happen to your IT infrastructure.
  • These back-ups should then be relatively easy to access if something should happen to your data. It should also be relatively straightforward to restore your data from these back-ups.
  • The risk of data corruption is also thought to be lower when backing up to the cloud
  • Security is a consideration many providers take seriously. Use of encryption and two factor authentication are common place for example
  • Providing they have internet access; staff should be able to access data and documents stored in the cloud from any device. So, if anything were to happen to your business premises staff should still be able to continue to work

What are the risks of cloud storage to business continuity?

  • A third party is often responsible for the cloud storage system, rather than yourself and your IT team. Within this is inherent risk if there are no agreed SLAs with regards to downtime, security breaches etc. It is vital that you choose your supplier carefully to meet the needs of your business
  • There is a risk of data breach given that your data is stored on external servers
  • Internet access is required to access your files. If this is not available, then you will not be able to access your data.
  • It is important to have a number of back-ups of your data – only backing up or storing on the cloud creates risk as it can still be affected by things such as cyber-attack, outages, natural disasters. Think about your data and how many back-ups you realistically need.
  • Do not think that having your data stored on the cloud is your business continuity plan. Data availability is only one element of a business continuity plan so you will still need to invest time and energy in creating one.

As a business, whatever decisions you make about your IT systems, the most important thing is that these decisions are well informed and researched. Whenever you make changes to the way your business operates you must update your business continuity plan to account for these changes. Imagine finding yourself in a situation whereby something happens to a cloud storage system and you have no contingency plans, do not know how to address the issue or have no formal agreement in place with a third party supplier as to who is responsible for getting technology back and running and how quickly? It could have a significant impact on your business. 

But remember, business continuity planning is about your business as whole, and whilst data will play a big part in this it is just one aspect to consider. That is why at First Recovery we believe that you must always plan for the worst.  Hopefully it won’t happen. But if it does the effort and time you have invested in planning will be key to ensuring the continuity and survival of your business.