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Was the State of the Public Cloud Being Used Effectively by IT Managers in 2020?

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | Was the State of the Public Cloud Being Used Effectively by IT Managers in 2020?When Netsuite and Salesforce launched in 1998 and 1999, respectively, experts generally considered the cloud to be a fad. Since the early 2000s, the industry has experienced unprecedented growth. The collection, storage, and securing of data is a priority in the business world globally. Cloud-native technology has shaped business operations remarkably in the past decade.

Contino recently released the result of a study that can be accessed in full on www.contino.io/insights/infographic-public-cloud-report-2020. Within it, curious minds can gain enormous insight into the public cloud’s state in modern enterprises. IT managers in businesses with more than 5,000 members within the UK, US, and APAC were questioned to arrive at its conclusions. The survey took place at the start of 2020 to investigate the applications of could-native technology.

These are some of the study’s findings.

The Public Cloud Has Widespread Usage

Among the surveyed, 77% stated that their organisation used the cloud in one form or the other. Another 50% of these IT managers made use of the hybrid cloud. Only 1% of the professionals said they were using on-premise solutions at the time. The rest of the respondents made use of a single public cloud, single private cloud or multi-cloud.

Business-Wide Public Cloud is Uncommon

Only 13% of IT managers reported that their businesses had a fully-fledged public cloud system. Those who said that the most common application of the system was for projects or multiple apps (42%). 24% of businesses were experiencing progress in their public cloud usage, while 18% were still developing.

Most Respondents intend to Expand Cloud Programs

83% of the companies are currently trying to increase their cloud program usage. Out of these, 48% want to proceed cautiously. However, 36% think the best way is to move quickly. A minor 4% are interested in returning to on-premise solutions and mentioned that they were in no haste.

Security & compliance are the Main Obstacles

Security and compliance are vital to businesses. This is why business owners and directors are concerned about the risks of using public cloud since the two factors can vary significantly between industries.

The survey found them to be the biggest barriers. 48% of respondents talked about security concerns, while 37% were apprehensive about compliance. However, most IT professionals stated that these two issues were far from being the only barriers to implementing cloud technologies.

They cited a lack of skills, resources, and the hassle of integrating existing systems as the other issues that obstruct a switch to the cloud. 19% expressed eagerness to get with the cloud, but lack of leadership buy-in stopped them from going ahead.

The Public Cloud is Considered to be as Secure as On-Premises

64% of respondents think that on-premises offers even less security than the cloud. This belief comes after previous security concerns about the cloud. 29% said that they had not noticed any security-related differences between the two systems. Only 7% felt that on-premises provided better security.

Company is More Important than Location When Expanding Cloud Programs

Across the businesses surveyed, Contino found that location played little to no role in determining responses. Instead, the nature of each company that factored into cloud-related decisions.

The Cloud Facilitates Innovation

While 81% of IT managers stated that using the cloud-accelerated innovation, no one expressed any belief that the cloud was hampering innovation. 5% reported that the cloud increases their business expenditure. However, 79% said that the system helped them minimise expenses.

Vendor Lock-In is A Serious Concern

Though 23% reported that they had no worries about vendor lock-in, 63% expressed reluctance to commit to the cloud due to concerns with vendor lock-in that ranged in severity.

The Most Significant Advantage is Aligning IT with the Business

100% of the respondents reported many ways of switching to the public cloud was beneficial to their organisation. 72% found that compliance related to business data was easier, while 4% thought it was trickier.

Many modern organisations have implemented the public cloud in varying forms. The majority of respondents are committed to these programs in the foreseeable future. While security and compliance are the most significant barriers to cloud usage, they were also cited as the most remarkable benefits of switching to the cloud.

Defending Your Storefront With Care & Consistency

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | Defending Your Storefront With Care & Consistency

It’s important to note that when we own and operate a store, or a retail building, or our restaurant, we must learn how to defend it. Of course, that usually involves having rules as to what kind of candour is allowed within the store, and having security on hand to remove harmful people where necessary.

That said, it can also be that sometimes, our physical presence of being located in an easy-to-reach spot can be a problem. Furthermore, most people know that retail businesses have had to temporarily close down, or that offices are vacant, and that means they could be targeted by the hands of those looking to do harm. How are you supposed to defend your storefront with care and consistency in this light? Is there a best way forward?

We believe there is. Thankfully, you don’t have to feel that this is out of your wheelhouse, or that it requires overly expensive consideration. With the following advice, you’re sure to defend your storefront in the most aesthetically and purposefully intrusive manner.

Strong, Shatterproof Windows & Glass

Of course, it’s important to ensure that your store is protected with strong, shatterproof glass. This not only prevents people from getting through, but it prevents the nasty sharp edges that might unveil themselves if a trespasser were to break their way through glass and ultimately end up harming themselves. This way you can make sure that the exterior of your building not only looks secure, sturdy and aesthetically similar, but that it is much more secure than it might have been. In some older buildings especially, shatterproof storefront windows are essential.

Appropriate Warning Signage

Often, clear and direct communication is essential to prevent 90% of difficulties that may otherwise happen. This can often be applied in the form of consistent signage. For instance, you might clearly state that thieves or trespassers may be prosecuted if entering your loading bay area. You may notify just what burglar alarm you are using, or the fact that CCTV systems operate at all hours. If you have vans in your lot, a simple sign that states no tools are left in there overnight can prevent a would-be theft. Appropriate signage may not work in 100% of cases, but they certainly put your strong and firm point across -as if you were there.

CCTV & Security Measures

Proper CCTV and security measures can of course help you in the last-ditch effort that you may need to protect your retail presence. This might involve ensuring that your alarms are well installed, that you use a range of real and false CCTV cameras to deter would-be trespassers, and that you regularly communicate with other storefronts or restaurants in your area to make sure that you bar or ban the right shoppers, that you know who is most likely to cause trouble, and that you can adequately give evidence in the case of a difficulty.

With this advice, we hope you can more easily defend your storefront with care and consistency.

How To Protect Your Business

When you own a business, you need to know how to protect it. There are threats that could damage it – and you – from all directions, including cybercrime, lawsuits, and contract issues among many more. By putting some of these ideas into practice, you can give yourself an added layer of protection that could save you a lot of worry and money in the long run. Read on to find out more.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | How To Protect Your Business

Be Wary Of Social Media

Social media can be great for business; it’s the ideal way to connect with more of your target audience, and you can advertise very cheaply – if you post the right kind of post that captures people’s imagination, you might even go viral and essentially advertise for free.

But just as social media can be wonderful for your business, boosting it much further and giving it greater reach than any other method could, it can also be dangerous. Anything you say online will be archived for all time, and sometimes it can even be taken completely out of context and used against you, and this is especially true if it’s a business account posting.

When using social media, always think twice about what you’re about to say, and if it could be taken the wrong way, think again. In the worst cases when your reputation has been attached through social media, you can hire reputation management services to help you regain your good name.

Train Your Employees

No matter how much you know not to open email attachments from strangers or to click on links that look suspicious, your employees might not, and it’s vital that they are trained to understand more about online safety because it’s all part of protecting your business. Don’t just assume that they know what to do and what the best practices are; ask them outright.

To be completely sure, even if most people are aware of what to do, it’s still a good idea to implement regular training on the issue. The more they know, the more they’ll notice, and the more protected your business will be.

Destroy Your Data Properly

All businesses are going to have some form of confidential data or sensitive information in their files somewhere. Whether it’s customers’ address details or credit card numbers, or the company’s own bank accounts, if any of this information were to get into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster for you, either because your finances could be compromised, or because the information could be used to steal your customers’ identities.

If you have this information on paper, make sure you destroy it properly when you need to – shred it, rather than simply throw it in the trash. If it’s digitally stored, make sure you destroy the information completely rather than just deleting it because a cybercriminal will be able to restore it and use it for their own illegal needs.

Using the cloud is going to help in most cases with this issue. The information will be securely stored, so you’ll be able to access it whenever you need to, and no one else will be able to find it.

4 Ways COVID-19 Will Continue to Impact Businesses in 2021 and Beyond

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective Article | 4 Ways COVID-19 Will Continue to Impact Businesses in 2021 and BeyondNobody likely knew what to expect when news of the newest coronavirus began popping up in December 2019. For many people, the reality probably didn’t sink in. After all, Europe and the United States remained mostly unaffected by most recent pandemic concerns. By January 20, 2020, though, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were singing a different tune. Nearly one year later, the pandemic shows no signs of ending, and business owners and consumers alike are wondering what to expect in 2021 and beyond.

1. Financial Technology Will Be in Higher Demand

As more businesses move to virtual formats, the need for financial technology will continue to increase in 2021. The problem is that despite popular belief, many financial institutions have barely experimented in fintech and aren’t ready to take on digital financial formats on a larger and more permanent basis. However, according to an article by Donald Gayhardt, this is likely to change quickly.

Gayhardt states that Hong Kong is already increasing its use of advanced fraud detection, biometric facial recognition, and other innovative AI technologies due to the pandemic. Financial technology won’t just take hold in banks and credit unions, either. It’s becoming increasingly important for grocery stores, restaurants, and even cosmetics retailers who now offer no-contact pick-up and delivery services. When retailers do not see customers face-to-face, it becomes more important than ever to offer a variety of safe and secure virtual payment methods.

2. Survival Entrepreneurship Will Become More Prominent

Businesses that are already centered on technology have remained mostly stable during 2020, but small family businesses haven’t been so lucky. Although unemployment in the United States decreased one percentage point to 6.9% in October 2020, the rate is still nearly double what it was before COVID-19 entering the U.S. Unemployment is even higher among minorities, as well as among Millennials and Gen Z, meaning an increasing number of people are turning to starting their own businesses.

People who once worked in pet stores and veterinarians’ offices are walking dogs and feeding cats while people are out of town. Preschool teachers and teachers’ assistants have turned to online tutoring. People are turning the jobs they used to do for someone else into businesses they work for themselves. History has proven that people who venture into the business world during tougher economic times often have more willpower to stick to it and decide they’d rather not re-enter the traditional workforce. This means you can expect to see more people creating startups in 2021 and beyond.

3. Logistics Will Continue To Move Slower Than Before

All types of industries are experiencing delays in manufacturing, distribution, and shipping due to the need for social distancing. Fewer people building products, packaging them, transporting them, or selling them means fewer products on the shelf. In the entertainment industry, for example, TV production has slowed, movie release dates are being pushed back, and major video game launches have been delayed as well.

It isn’t just entertainment, either. Clothing retailers, restaurants and grocery stores, and even some pharmaceutical products have all seen delays in 2020 as well. Some people must rely on companies that move products nationally and internationally. However, restaurants and some other small businesses have found they’d rather start relying on local supply chains than on global ones. More people are contracting with nearby farmers, fiber artists, and more, creating a better local economy and strong community along the way, something that will decidedly keep occurring in 2021.

4. Social Distancing Will Continue

Whether your company works with other businesses or caters to the public, expect to continue to follow social distancing regulations as the clocks move forward to 2021. If your company relies on business meetings and brainstorming sessions, expect to continue to host them via Zoom or another online video platform. Those who own restaurants will need to continue to follow social distancing guidelines both inside and outdoors and may need to follow curfews or earlier “last call” laws if they serve alcohol. Retailers will still need to limit how many people are in a store at a time, maintain social distancing in checkout lines, and enforce mask regulations as well. Vaccination trials are happening rapidly. When one becomes available to the public, social distancing will likely start to relax. Until then, though, expect to remain six feet apart.

Just a few months ago, nobody was sure when scientists would find a vaccine. Now, experts believe one will be widely available by mid-2021. The pandemic may be raging on, but it won’t do so forever. Until then, consider what you can do to help your community fight off COVID-19. If you can afford to, cut your business hours, switch to pick-up and delivery only, or close your doors altogether. If you run an essential business or must keep operating as normal for some reason, practice good social distancing skills. Train your employees well, check in with them often, and remember, everybody is fighting this battle. The kinder you are now, the better you will feel, and the better your company will be remembered when the pandemic does end.

How to Make Your Small Business More Secure

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | How to Make Your Small Business More SecureIf you own or run a small business, one of the most dangerous mistakes that you can make is assuming that your business will not become a security target because of its size. But the truth is that size doesn’t matter when it comes to criminal attacks, particularly online. In fact, small businesses are often easier targets for cybercriminals and hackers since they often underestimate the importance of cybersecurity or do not have the same resources as the larger corporations. It’s important to understand the threats that your business is vulnerable to, particularly online, and to have a strong strategy to reduce them.

Outsource to a Professional IT Company

Your small business might not have the budget to hire a team of in-house IT employees, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting the support that you need. Outsourcing to a professional IT support company is the best option to ensure that your small business has the security resources and IT professionals necessary to ensure that threats are kept to a minimum and that your data is kept secure. If you are looking for London IT support, Totality Services is an IT support company in London offering professional services to small businesses looking to streamline IT processes and improve security. One of the best IT companies in London, Totality Services are a Microsoft Partner offering round-the-clock IT support for your business. Learn more at totalityservices.co.uk.

Have a Strong Password Policy

More often than not it is very simple mistakes and human error that can lead to some of the worst data breaches. And one of the easiest ways for hackers and cybercriminals to get into your systems is by guessing passwords. It’s important to ensure that all employees are fully trained and educated on the importance of having a strong password policy and why practices such as sharing passwords, using easily guessable passwords, using the same passwords for different login credentials and writing passwords down are not acceptable. A good password manager tool for all employees to use is a great investment in the security of your business.

Look Out for Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks, in which a cybercriminal or hacker attempts to deceive somebody into giving away personal or sensitive information, are on the rise. And they are often used to try and get access to company data or employee login credentials. A phishing attack could come in the form of an email that appears to be from the business bank, for example, or from a senior member of staff. They are often seemingly innocent and can easily be fallen for. Be sure that all employees are trained on how to spot potential phishing attacks and have strong policies in place when it comes to the steps that need to be taken after an employee receives an email or another form of communication that is requesting sensitive information. All communications should be verified before any information is shared with the sender.

Shred Documents Before Disposing of Them

Many companies focus heavily on cybersecurity but fail to realise the other security risks that they might face. Documents, for example, can often contain sensitive information about your company, employees, or customers and every step should be taken to ensure that they do not end up in the wrong hands. Any invoices, printed communications, and quotes should be completely shredded before they are disposed of. You may even want to take disposing of shredded sensitive documents even further in terms of security by disposing of them in parts so that they cannot be put back together.

Deter Physical Break-Ins

Physical break-ins can be just as devastating to your company as cyberattacks, particularly if you have any securely stored physical data on-site. Make sure that your business is GDPR compliant by ensuring that no customer or employee information is left out where it could be accessed easily should anybody break into the business premises. Deter thieves and would-be burglars by installing video surveillance equipment and having a strong security alarm system at your business property.

Secure Data in the Cloud

Storing data in the cloud rather than in physical storage or on physical devices is not only more modem and easier for most small businesses, but it also makes it much harder for this data to be stolen. Data that is stored on a hard drive, for example, can be compromised if the hard drive itself is stolen or damaged. However, cloud-based storage that is fully encrypted and protected with strong login credentials is far more difficult to access. Tighten security even further by only allowing a select few, trusted people access to any data stored in the cloud.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your business is too small to be the victim of a cyber-attack. With attacks on small businesses on the rise, there’s never been a more crucial time to step up your security measures.