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Cloud Benefits for SMBs: Spotlight on Security and Disaster Recovery

Cloud Benefits for SMBs: Spotlight on Security and Disaster Recovery

By Grant Howe

The world has changed drastically in the last decade concerning security and disaster recovery. Small businesses used to be mostly secure and protected with the deployment of a firewall, antivirus software and a regular backup schedule.

Attackers have become increasingly sophisticated and business-oriented. Ransomware attacks that seek to extort money from businesses by holding their data (and operations) hostage have become more commonplace. Hacking has moved from underground activities aimed at financial and identity theft to well-planned, big-business operations with bases in countries that our law enforcement cannot reach. These sophisticated hackers often use an untraceable currency that lacks government control (bitcoin).

As attacks become more sophisticated, so must the defenses against them. New tools to monitor servers and networks for suspicious activity must be deployed. Regular review of logged events and vigilance in patching servers for vulnerabilities is even more necessary than before. Proper configuration of defenses, hardening of the environment, and watching for reports of new types of attacks to respond proactively are also part of a necessary defense. Most business operations, like credit card processing, now require a well-running and secure infrastructure.

The impact of downtime on small business is also more expensive than ever. Server and network backups are critical as history tells us that the majority of businesses that have a catastrophic data loss go out of business within one year.

Clearly, this is a lot more work and requires different skill sets than we expected from our IT consultant/employee a decade ago. The actual defenses and tools are expensive and so are people experienced in their application and use. For example, some of the devices we use at ECi in our cloud environment cost six figures each.

How can a small business approach containing such risk to their operations in light of the expense in both dollars and time? The answer is to pool our resources and collectively protect our business operations in the cloud. Together we can afford a solution that no single business could.

ECi maintains a robust and secure cloud environment that already hosts close to two thousand customers and has been in operation over 5 years. Security operations, backups, and failover are performed at secure data centers that house many large servers, networking equipment, and storage arrays. The data centers are managed by professional IT personnel with experience in the cloud environment and who dedicate themselves to our software. We have relationships with our hardware vendors, security consultants, and software providers (Microsoft for example) where we can reach out to them on a moment’s notice and receive an immediate response, even on holidays and weekends. These things are not only expensive they require scale of operations to be successful.

Through scale of operations, ECi can help you reduce the operational risk to your business at a more affordable cost than for a stand-alone operation. Ignoring the risks to your business operations in light of today’s challenging security environment is a choice. However, we value your business and want to help you proactively avoid a disaster.

Grant Howe

About the author

Grant Howe joined ECi as Chief Technology Officer in April of 2015. Howe brings more than 21 years of product development and management experience to ECi.

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