One of the biggest sources of hesitation I run across when talking to business owners about these concepts is the data security and client or business data privacy. I like to think of it this way: How secure is your network now? Better still, how long is it going to take me to get through your front door, grab your server and walk away? I’d bet, I can have everything you’ve got on your super-secure network you paid some guy thousands of dollars to setup in under 5 minutes. That’s how secure you are.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume all you do is create documents and spreadsheets. You use Dropbox to synchronize and backup all your data. Now, you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to have a password on your laptop and you certainly don’t have an encrypted file system. So someone steals your laptop out of your car and now your exposed, right? They have everything. Right up until they try to turn it on. Since you were using Dropbox, you went online with your phone or called the secretary and told her what happened, she logs into your Dropbox account and un-links your computer. They got no data at all for their brand new felony. You were secure.
Data privacy is a more difficult subject. Inside your network there really isn’t much of that, if you’re connected to the internet. Much of what’s on your computers can be accessed by spyware or by various government agencies’ data mining. Which they do. Every web hosting company, yourself included if you host your own email internally, is required by law to retain records of every email sent for a period of time. The government can demand these copies of emails at any time with a warrant (or by throwing the Patriot Act in your face). That’s one of the things that got Bill Clinton busted and nearly impeached Dick Cheney. Every search engine from Google to Amazon to Yahoo looks at your browsing habits, purchasing habits, what you type in everywhere in order to give you personalized browsing. Effectively, increasing their ad revenue.
Dealing with things online then, seems like a bit of a risky situation. It’s really less so. The companies that host these technologies are required by law to have them secure. They hold certifications that allow them to host medical records, legal documents, military secrets, that kind of thing. In order to maintain that level of security, you’d have to have some very skilled staff on hand managing your infrastructure 24/7. Why reinvent the wheel?
Stop back on Monday for the next part!
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