Is Cloud Computing right for your business? What about those Data Breach Changes? Considering cloud computing but you’re concerned about the pitfalls, like security and flexibility? Here’s the information you’re looking for!

What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is a method of managing and storing data in the same way you would on your computer or local server but via the internet in a virtual environment called the cloud. You use the internet to connect your device to the cloud, but the internet is just the connection – the cloud is where your data lives.

What’s this about data breach changes?
The Australian Federal Government has made important changes to the National Privacy Act, which impact on many small businesses. From 22 February 2018, businesses with an annual turnover of more than $3 million are required to comply with the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme under the Privacy Act 1988. A data breach occurs when unauthorised personal information is accessed or released. If the breach is likely to cause serious harm to an individual, businesses are obligated to notify both the individual involved, and the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
You can learn more about the changes here

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud platforms?
Lots of people use cloud platforms. You may already be using them and not be aware that they are ‘cloud based’. Cloud based software makes it easier to share work across multiple sites and rolls. Xero is a clod based program that enables you, your account and your bookkeeper to access and work on your business finances. Also you don’t need to install it to your computer, you generally just pay registration fee.

However, there has been much controversy surrounding the security and reliability of public cloud. For example Microsoft Office 365 users experienced a server outage on December 3rd 2015. Which meant that their cloud based services were inaccessible. So is it safe? High-profile data breaches at Target, Home Depot and in the Apple iCloud received a lot of media attention. However, the media ignored that all three breaches were a result of human error, not shortcomings in the Cloud.

If you’d like more information on what you can do to increase your cloud security, the Australian Department of Defence gives you lots of useful information here.

The main concerns for many thinking about moving to the cloud are:
• Don’t I lose control of my data?
In most cases you actually have more control of your data, since you can access, share and work with your info, anywhere, anytime, on any device. You also control who has access – which you can revoke in an instant. Just make sure you read those Terms and Conditions when you sign up to fully understand what they have access to.

• Aren’t you stuck if the internet goes down?
Well, yes. HOWEVER these days, the internet is a bit electricity – it’s very rare for it to go down and when it does you just have to wait a short time for it to be available again. In the meantime, all your data is safe in the cloud.

• Isn’t it possible to lose your data in the cloud?
Your data is actually much safer in the cloud than on your computer. Your computer can be stolen or corrupted quite easily, but cloud companies spend millions on systems and experts to protect your data.

The beauty of cloud software is the flexibility it gives you to run your business from work, home, or on the go. You can be confident that you have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing, no matter where you are.

Software updates can be developed and delivered faster and more easily in the cloud. This means you don’t need to worry about installing the latest version and you’ll get access to new features instantly. With cloud accounting software, you have the option to run your business remotely, from anywhere in the world. And when data is fluid and accessible, the possibilities are endless.
In conclusion the big benefit of cloud computing is that it lets you get at your data anytime, anywhere. The cloud breaks the chain between your office computer and your business information.

With the cloud there’s no need to keep all your files and applications on a single computer – no need to worry about backups, theft, data loss, support and upgrades. It’s all taken care of by dedicated teams of technical people. You no longer have to worry about what’s happening behind the scenes.

The cloud takes the stress out of computing. It lets you use computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices to access all your business information – seamlessly, securely and in real time. Just log in and go, anytime and anywhere.

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