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Pitfalls of Running Your Business On The Cloud

The availability of web-based services like gmail, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Prosper 202 and Basecamp means that your internet marketing or affiliate business can be run off a low-powered netbook or even off a cheap computer at an Internet cafe. But are you taking enough safeguards to protect yourself?

If anything, the earlier attacks this week which took down Facebook and Twitter for a couple of hours highlights the perils of cloud computing (where you’re using web-based, rather than desktop/laptop-based software). A strategic strike, such as a denial-of-service attack can bring the whole system crumbling down.

Imagine not having access to a traffic campaign you’re running on a PPC, PPV network and not being able to access your affiliate panel off an affiliate networks interface, and you could incurring huge opportunity cost in your business.

One safeguard is to regularly schedule weekly backups of your data. Some web services incorporate this feature, most do not. Even if the service provides this support, it’s often a highly manual process.

If you’re backing up data on your own servers, getting your system admin to set up a series of automated jobs to backup your data every 24 hours can be a lifesaver, especially if things go awry.

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Another caveat – while web services have obvious advantages such as a great deal of portability, zero or minimal support costs and convenience, I’d stop short of saving critical data, such as passwords, or confidential data on them. The open nature of these services often incorporates easy access features which might also provide loopholes for others to enter.

If in doubt, store your data locally – after all it’s your business on the line.

4 comments on Pitfalls of Running Your Business On The Cloud

  1. Hendry Lee
    August 12, 2009 at 10:17 pm (4098 days ago)

    I agree. Most people don’t think about that until about availability of the platform until they need it and it’s not there.

    Whenever I’m away from my desktop and use a netbook, I still prefer apps that allow me to sync quickly with the desktop counterpart.

    I’m very technical savvy, absolutely love technology, but to move my workstation to the cloud.. I feel like I’m not quite ready yet.

    A quick comment about storing password offsite. Use encryption. Even for my project and document, I always encrypt it quickly before I send offsite. Just so that i feel safe if someone ever has his hand on my stuff.

    Password is no different. If you use tools such as RoboForm, you are practically shift the security of all your data to one key RoboForm password. And now that they offer synchronization feature, I admit they have to sell hard on the security part to make people use it, but the point is that when you protect your sensitive data with a centralized password, that password becomes the most important key to guard.

    Just like with a public key encryption. The private should never fall into anyone’s hands.

  2. Jenn Bolton
    August 13, 2009 at 3:22 pm (4097 days ago)

    Overall most web based applications are as secure as they can possibly be.
    Protecting yourself and your machine is crucial.
    Personally I don’t opt for password keepers and never form save my passwords – Firefox offers this service, which I suppose is fine for casual surfers, but not sales and marketing professionals using web based app’s such as Salesforce.com and Zoho etc.
    It’s all in educating your staff or utilising tools such as SSO’s which are great, or would be great if the functionality ever operated the way it should.
    Data security is key, however password protection or even location of log in can’t help if it’s your own staff who are the culprits.
    All in all, you can’t beat the old pad and pen!

  3. Andrew Wee
    August 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm (4097 days ago)

    Hi Jenn,
    Interesting points.
    Though some time back, a survey of Fortune 500 companies revealed that a large proportion of company execs write their passwords on stick-its and plastered them around their LCDs.

    So corp policies like enforcing a lotus notes password change every 60 days can be pretty counter productive in terms of data security and employee productivity.

    Finding the balance between convenience and security is a pretty delicate process.

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