With an SME cloud push comes a need for a security focus

Cloud technologies have quickly changed communications and information management across the globe, as data is now easily shared and accessed across any number of devices, and in any location with an internet connection.

SMEs have recognised the benefits of cloud technologies – and that's why they're starting to take to the online systems in droves. In fact, a new report from the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) found that small and medium-sized enterprises in the region are now the biggest IT spenders, with an increasing focus on new cloud, remote and virtualisation technologies.

As this cloud focus ramps up, however, SMEs will need to ensure that they're focused on keeping the systems (and data stored on them) absolutely secure through the right tools and architectures.

SMEs taking to the cloud

The ACCA report released earlier this year noted that SMEs in Asia spent around US $2 billion on cloud services in 2014, specifically in developed and emerging areas. What's more, the growth rate for these services stood at around 42 per cent.

Remote desktops were identified as a necessary area of focus, as they can support several trends. Once these cloud-hosted computers are set up, a business can have staff work off laptops at home, on cheaper, low-powered computers in the office or on devices at other office locations.

While these benefits could be applicable to any size business, the ACCA report noted that SMEs are taking to the systems in order to make money.

"This is a very different mentality from large corporates and it means that the messaging around cloud technologies and services for SMEs to date has been misplaced," ACCA explained.

"The initial attraction of cloud computing for the larger corporates lies in the cost savings and efficiencies it enables. But for SMEs it will be all about greater reach, greater speed, and greater flexibility in acquiring or serving a customer."

However, as this cloud push continues, it's going to be essential for SMEs in the region to place a high priority on security. Failure to do so could mean serious problems for businesses. 

A failure in cloud security could be disastrous.

A failure in cloud security could be disastrous.

The necessary precautions

Given that cloud technologies are still relatively new, there's uncertainty when it comes to security requirements. For example, the online systems are not completely secure against outside attacks, as unwitting staff could let an attacker onto a network.

A report from 2013 by Porticor found that in the midst of a substantial cloud push there was also a massive rise in cloud-based criminal activities.

These often include attackers outside the company gaining access to secure systems within the business, either through what's known as a cyberattack (conducted over a network) or manipulating employees (malicious emails and chat messages).

It can be next to impossible to identify when these attacks could occur, and that's why early preparation is so vital.

Cisco also noted the importance of cloud security, explaining that with the new technologies comes new security risk. The organisation explained that any cloud adoption depends on an appropriate security focus.

"To succeed with cloud computing, organisations must address cloud security concerns," Cisco noted.

To start taking security seriously, all business leaders should consider the benefits of upskilling staff. Through a variety of versatile frameworks such as ITIL and SABSA, it's easy for a business to ensure the security of online systems.

These mean that staff understand what can cause a security risk or breach, and they're constantly focused on preventing such events from occurring.

Speak to ALC Training today if you'd like to ensure that even in the midst of cloud migration, your staff know how to handle security.