Security will drive SMEs to the Cloud

As we approach the end of the year, disaster recovery specialist Databarracks predicts that 2016 will see more small and medium organisations move towards cloud services like Microsoft Office 365 to relieve the growing headache of managing security in-house.

Oscar Arean, technical operations manager at Databarracks, says 2016 will be the year of the Office 365 because of its simplicity and security. He is predicting that the cloud-based solution will be default for the majority of small businesses.

“You don’t need particularly advanced IT skills to set it up and in many ways it takes the headache out of security because you know Microsoft has a vested interest in protecting your data,” he says. “The damage to their reputation would be huge if they were to suffer a breach.”

Security issues

Security is also a big issue for small businesses, and knowing a cloud provider could handle it is an offer they won’t be able to resist.

“Rather than worrying about safeguarding multiple systems within your environment, it’s far easier for the IT team to offload that burden to a cloud service provider. Services like Office 365 can obviously never be 100 per cent secure but you can be safe in the knowledge that they will have a team of skilled security specialists working to eliminate threats – which is much more time and resources than most SMEs can afford to devote to security.”

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Credit: Flickr / Ryan Hyde

Credit: Flickr / Ryan Hyde[/caption]

Scary first steps

Arean continues to say that although he predicts further growth in cloud computing, it’s still considered a big step for first time cloud users:

“It is still scary for organisations to take the first step into cloud services. Even with public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google, which make the process much simpler, there is still work to be done in making cloud services more accessible and more intuitive for first time users. While we’re used to Office 365 being so intuitive, it takes more time to become familiar with more complex platforms such as Azure or AWS and the process usually involves a lot of troubleshooting. It very much still requires a “hold your hand” approach to set it up which needs to be simplified in order to facilitate more widespread adoption. The other option is to use a service provider that can manage that process for you.”

Other predictions for 2016 include better security practices and a maturing disaster recovery market, says Arean:

“Two-factor authentication is another area in which we’ll see a lot of growth. Or if we don’t, we really should. According to research released earlier this year, only 28 per cent of people have actually enabled two-factor authentication to improve their online security. Adoption should be much more widespread than that – I’m hoping it will become a default option for the majority of services and applications in 2016.

“At the moment, most non-technical employees don’t know that you can enable two-factor authentication for just about everything already. It’s been available on web services like Hotmail, Gmail and Facebook for a long time now, which is a really good thing, but people either don’t know about it, or don’t understand why it’s so important. We need to educate employees on the basics in order to strengthen IT security in the long term.

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“Disaster recovery will continue to mature in 2016. It has grown incredibly in the last few years but there is still a long way to go in terms of both the technology and the processes behind it. In our 2015 Data Health Check we questioned over 400 IT professionals on the differences between their actual and desired recovery time objectives (RTOs). The most common actual RTO was up to four hours, despite the majority revealing their ideal RTO would be under one hour. Reducing this gap will play an important part in organisations’ business continuity planning for 2016. Simple steps such as proper IT DR planning and regular testing will help to reduce this gap and ensure businesses are adequately prepared and protected.”