Over a decade has passed since “cloud computing” entered the global vocabulary. In that time, the ideas of cloud computing, cloud storage, and cloud services have been depicted alternately as a fad and as the future of IT, as compellingly easy-to-use and unapproachably complex, and as woefully unsafe and more secure than traditional computing.
Regardless of these shifts in opinion, however, the cloud is now an integral part of how businesses do business. Today 75% of companies rely on the cloud for backups and storage and with the increasing ubiquity of secure cloud services, that percentage isn’t going to do anything but grow. As an MSP, this growth represents a major opportunity both to attract new customers to your business portfolio and to upsell your existing customers with additional secure cloud-based services. However, to do that you’ll need to ensure that the cloud services you bring into your MSP service offerings meet the needs – and address the concerns – of your customers.
Since companies consider safety and security the most important features in IT services, your top priority should be offering the most secure cloud services available. Cloud services that emphasize security will not only draw more interest from your customers, they’ll also ensure that you’re able to evade the costly dangers that insufficiently secure services tend to experience.
The Dangers of Insecure Cloud Services
While secure cloud services deliver a wealth of benefits to customers and are often better able to provide the combination of data protection and easy accessibility that modern businesses demand, they aren’t infallible. Insecure cloud services can expose your customers’ business data to a myriad of threats – commercial, financial, technical, legal, and more. Many of these threats are the same ones your customers will be familiar with from traditional on-premises-based storage and services. Others, like management application programming interface (API) issues and unauthorized cloud service access, are unique to the cloud’s structure and provisioning.
Ultimately, however, most of your customers aren’t sitting around wondering “how secure are cloud services?”. Instead they’re counting on whatever IT services they receive from your team to be reliable and secure enough to ensure their business data is safe and available. Failing to meet that expectation is sure to result in customer churn and take a bite out of your bottom line. To avoid that, you should ensure that whatever threats your customers are facing, be they specific to insecure cloud services or as universal and commonplace as accidental deletions and human error, the most secure cloud service available is in place to keep things running smoothly. This obviously raises the question:
How to Find Secure Cloud Services
Today every IT service exists in the cloud, from cloud file sync and share and storage (software as a service solutions) to databases (platform as a service solutions) to entire IT infrastructures (infrastructure as a service solutions). Unfortunately, with this wave of cloud services comes a wide array of security capabilities. And since use-cases vary from service to service, offering a universally applicable list of best practices would inevitably miss some finer details.
With that in mind, below we’ll primarily be focusing on what makes for a secure cloud file-sharing service. Public cloud services like Dropbox have shown businesses how valuable and convenient cloud file sync and share can be while lacking the security a modern business needs to survive – see their massive 2012 data breach for proof. That said, many of these points are relevant in searches for other secure cloud services to one degree or another.
1. Complete Data Encryption At-Rest and In-Transit
The most reliable sign of a secure cloud service is their data encryption capabilities. The most secure cloud service providers will be quick to tout theirs, while less secure competitors will skirt the issue whenever possible.
For you to deliver secure cloud file-sharing to your customers, settle for nothing less than the best encryption you can find. The most important feature to keep an eye-out for in this regard is end-to-end encryption, which secures your customers’ data both when it’s in storage and when it’s being shared and edited by people around the globe. Some less-than-secure cloud service providers will include encryption during one state but not the other. Others will have encryption for both in-transit and at-rest files and folders but will vary the level of encryption available between the two.
The good news is that comparing the security offered by different cloud file sync and share providers is a clear, highly quantifiable test. For the most secure cloud file-sharing service, you’ll need encryption algorithms that are FIPS 140-2 compliant. This is a best-in-class U.S. government computer security standard and includes high-security algorithms like AES, Triple-DES, RSA, and more.
2. Transparent File and Folder Audit Trails
A less obvious measure of how secure cloud services are is the transparency they offer as files are shared. When your customers are using cloud file sync and share services to collaborate with employees around the world it’s easy to lose track of who had access to the content, and when they did.
This is a common performance gap in less secure cloud file-sharing services and can result in privileged information being available to the wrong people, unwanted copies creation, and unapproved editing – with no way to determine when and where these actions took place. As the MSP supplying the cloud file sync and share service in use, being unable to detect when these unapproved actions take place (and report on these events to the customer) is sure to reflect poorly.
The most secure cloud service providers will protect you from this risk with the ability to provide complete access to an in-depth audit trail of who can access content, who provided them with access, and what was done to the data as it was being distributed and developed. Ensuring the cloud file sync and share software you introduce to your offerings has this capability is key to delivering secure cloud services overtime.
3. In-depth Integrations with Existing Resources
The most secure cloud service in the world won’t ensure data security if they aren’t easy to use. Invariably if the secure cloud services you offer to your customers require extra time, training, or steps to operate, people will find more streamlined – and often less secure – workarounds.
The best way to ensure that the secure cloud file-sharing service you invest in will be used by your team and by your customers is by demanding integrations with your existing business automation systems and your customers’ most popular applications. Integrations with tools from Microsoft, ConnectWise, and other high-profile services ensure that customers aren’t limited by what types of files can be shared or stored.
For your MSP business’ own growth, secure cloud services that feature native or API-based integrations with the rest of your infrastructure represent a major advantage. They enable seamless connection to your company’s existing billing and provisioning solutions allowing for smooth customer relations and helping to get your customers using the service quicker.
4. Platform Agnostic and Mobile Friendly
On a similar note, secure cloud file-sharing is really only a valuable service if it can be used by everyone who needs it. As mentioned above, secure cloud services with built-in integrations to your software and your customers’ applications help to prevent security gaps caused by workarounds. The ability to serve diverse platforms, including mobile platforms like Android and iOS, addresses another potential security gap.
With the rise of business bring-your-own-device policies, the demand for secure cloud services that are both platform agnostic and mobile friendly is higher than ever before. That said, not all cloud file sync and share solutions are keeping pace with all the platforms used in modern business environments.
As an MSP with a growing portfolio of unique digital needs, the best way to prevent platform-based roadblocks is to find a secure cloud file-sharing service that supports all the smart phones, tablets, laptops, PCs, Macs, and web browsers your customer could possibly need. This will enable your customers to reliably use the secure cloud services you’re offering for any use-case they may have today, or as they scale in the future.
The Most Secure Cloud File Sync and Share Service: Acronis Cyber Files Cloud
Acronis Cyber Files Cloud is designed exclusively for service providers. With it, you’re equipped with industry-leading cloud file sync and share capabilities that provide your customers with the most secure cloud service possible – while maintaining your own productivity and profitability.
Acronis Cyber Files Cloud is part of Acronis Cyber Cloud - a platform that enables service providers to deliver cyber protection in an easy, efficient and secure way.
By adding Acronis Cyber Files Cloud to your service offerings, your customers gain a comprehensively secure cloud service that supports users on any device, browser, or platform while delivering FIPS 140-2 certified encryption while data is in-transit or at-rest. With support for all the devices your portfolio of customers rely on, plus built-in integrations with Microsoft’s most popular workplace applications, all of your customers will find the reliable, secure cloud file sync and share service they need to grow and compete. That helps your customer achieve their goals and helps your MSP business boost its reputation, client base, and profitability.
Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 2,000 employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.