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9 Oct 2016
Learn the new guaranted way to get your small business idea started and successful
I consider myself one of the few lucky people living on God’s earth today for the simple reason that I always get a chance to chat with people from all walks of life as part of my career, thereby putting me in a position to keep learning new things every day.
Last week, I had a chat with a passionate Information and Communications Technology consultant, who wants to see more small businesses succeed by taking advantage of all the technology tools available today, especially cloud technologies.
She said to me, “I can’t imagine how any small business today will not take advantage of the cloud. The cloud makes it cheaper and easier to manage and scale a business. Besides, small businesses can get a whole lot of value for a fraction of what it costs to buy and install physical equipment?”
I may have shared her points so simply but I wish you were there with us during that conversation. She was so passionate and vocal about her convictions. After that extremely fantastic chat, I decided to write about the cloud in a way that a layman would understand and particularly, how to stay safe while using cloud services.
When you hear of cloud computing, what comes to your mind? Is it something in the cloud up in the sky? I remember a true life story of a senior bank executive who quipped, “If we put our servers in the cloud, how do we deal with the elements? What becomes our lot when it rains?”
Jokes apart; the cloud is more or less a terminology that can simply be described as off-station or off-site. This is because cloud servers are still located in physical structures using a series of networked servers and equipment in order to cater for a large number of businesses and organisations across different geographical boundaries.
Businesses can choose to deploy applications on public, private, hybrid clouds or the newer community cloud.
Let me clearly state that I believe that cloud technologies are super awesome; in fact, they are the way to go. Back in the days, I used to worry a whole lot about the data on my personal computer or smartphone. What happens to my data if it gets missing? I don’t worry anymore; thanks to the cloud. Yes, I will be hurt if it gets missing because it will cost me to replace them, but I will lose little or no data.
So, yes; I agree with this ICT consultant that the cloud takes off quite some burden from business owners and cuts down on costs. I believe in these rather tough times, when companies, organisations and corporations are seeking ways to cut down on costs and creatively maximising scarce resources, I think the cloud is the way to go.
There are a number of ways you can use the cloud, such as part of the infrastructure, platform, software, or storage.
However, I understand that security is a huge challenge when it comes to using cloud based services and that is why I recommend that you should do the following:
Improving security in the cloud
Avoid malware and phishing attacks
I accept that the greatest challenge with using cloud services is security. Sadly, the reality is that there are no foolproof ways of preventing security breaches. So the best recommendation is to keep doing your best at all times.
Avoid clicking on any link from your email. Instead, copy and paste into your browser. Make sure you have a good anti-virus service in place and periodically scan your files. Note that some websites are developed solely to spread virus. So avoid them.
Implement a second step authentication for extremely essential services or tools. All of these still will not guarantee 100 per cent safety while using cloud services, but they are simply the way to go.
Use difficult passwords
One of the best ways to secure your information in the cloud is to ensure that, whatever password you use is very difficult to crack by looming hackers. In fact, experts advice that your passwords should be alphanumeric with some dose of symbols because, hackers or cyber criminals are very adept at grabbing peoples passwords for criminal intents and purposes.
Always think of your passwords as safety locks because the more complicated your passwords are, the more difficult it will be for hackers or cyber criminals to feast on your data.
Vary passwords for all your online activities
For every time you are required to supply a password online, use a different one. For example, never use the same password for your Gmail or Yahoo accounts and never re-use a password when creating your personal profile on a social media platform.
The reason is simple. If you recycle passwords, chances are that hackers or cyber criminals will someday get hold of this one-fits-all password, and if they do, they will feast on you like a pack of hungry hyenas.
Never disclose your password to anyone
Regardless of how close the person is to you, do not disclose your password to them because, the more people know your password, the riskier it becomes for you and your data online. Remember, the other person might not be as security conscious as you are; so keep your passwords personal.
In conclusion, I believe this is the time to get everyone, especially the government to regard cloud services as one of the most effective ways to truly develop the Nigerian state and deliver outstanding services to her citizens. Countries such as Kenya and Rwanda are already beating us to it and as we say in pidgin, “we must not carry last.”