Of the many technological advances in IT that have taken form in recent history, cloud storage is possibly the one that holds the most potential. Its utility is astounding and it’s been taking the business world by storm, offering companies of various sizes and services the ability to incorporate off-site information storage into their business plans, as well as an ease of connectivity that has never been seen before. However, cloud storage isn’t for every business, and for some, it may even be the wrong choice, depending on how the cloud is implemented and incorporated into the business framework. A CPA firm is the perfect example of how cloud storage can be useful if done right, but disastrous if done wrong, boiling it down to the rate of success depending on how prepared a company is to fully and correctly embrace cloud storage in the information age.

There are many obvious benefits to incorporating the cloud into one’s business. Ease of access to an entire database of information is always a plus, and being able to do so from anywhere in the world presents new opportunities for working abroad and expanding one’s company across oceans. With all the different levels of cloud integration and manners through which one can upload information to the cloud, the possibilities are astounding: you can go for a public cloud, which anybody can be a part of, in order to share information with clients and coworkers, on top of making partnerships and negotiations run a lot smoother, or you can go for a private cloud, which only allows access within a certain boundary or is an independent cloud used specifically and only for your company to access your information, given the correct clearance. For a CPA firm, a private cloud would be ideal, seeing as you could easily disseminate information amongst colleagues, all while making sure that your private cloud was used only by your own, trusted employees. However, although the private cloud seems as though it would better suit the security of your firm’s more guarded information, the difference is minimal at the surface.

The difference between a public and private cloud have nothing to do with security, at least, in terms of their basic services. A public cloud isn’t public because anybody can access anyone else’s information, it’s public in the sense that anyone can use is to upload information to: unauthorized people still aren’t able to access the information, except with a public cloud, the owner of the cloud (who provides to the service and maintains the cloud) also acts as a gatekeeper: although they are technically able to view whatever information you upload to the cloud, most providers swear that they won’t (take that as you will), and are also responsible for maintaining security software to keep everyone’s information safe. On a private cloud, yours is the only information uploaded to the cloud, however, if you aren’t willing to shell out for top-of-the-line security services and software (like the owner of a public cloud service may be), you may be more at risk to lose information should somebody specifically target your company. While you have more freedom to choose your security with a private cloud, you also have the responsibility to make sure that security is in tip top shape (public clouds are also a lot easier to access from various points on the globe, given the networking infrastructure necessary and the upkeep costs and personnel it would require to keep that sort of cloud up and running). Whatever cloud you upload to presents its own set of risks, and you need to make sure that you handle your client’s information very carefully, should the risk of data loss outweigh the convenience of the cloud.

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