The cloud is growing. More and more developers are choosing to build applications that are housed and accessed directly from the cloud, allowing companies to save precious space on their servers for the most important information — or even ditch their servers altogether. The cloud allows for increased collaboration between an organization’s team members or even among multiple organizations because cloud computing allows individuals to access data from anywhere — which is exactly the concern when it comes to security measures.

the cloudCloud apps are damn useful, but you need to be sure that when you’re using them, you’re keeping your data — both that saved on the cloud and that locked down in your servers — perfectly safe.

How Cloud-Based Apps Work

Using the term “the cloud” is basically a fancy way of talking about the Internet. Thus, any service or application you use that is based online takes place in the cloud. The major benefit of utilizing cloud-based software is that you don’t have to download anything to your own devices, keeping their memory open for your own important data. Plus, with the cloud, employees can access important company services (or even data, if you save your information in the cloud) from anywhere they can get an Internet connection, which means more productivity and probably higher profits.

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More than 400 developers are working on increasing the quantity of their cloud-based systems, and almost 40 percent of current cloud application developers update their software every week. This means that for virtually any software solution you can imagine, there is an up-to-date and budget-friendly cloud application to suit your needs. You can find a wide variety of cloud apps in various marketplaces around the Web. Many offer free trials or sample periods where you can try out the app to see if it really will help you or your company.

As mentioned before, using the cloud allows your employees to work basically anywhere and anytime, giving them flexibility. This unlimited access promotes productivity, and with 51 percent of survey respondents, it also improved collaboration among coworkers.

All this seems like a great deal: A cost-effective and immediate way to solve company problems and increase profits all without waiting for physical software to ship and become installed. However, the cloud does come with downsides.

Why You Should Be Wary

With all the haste in producing these wonder-apps, creators are often leaving security measures to the very end of product development — if they address the issue at all. Failing to incorporate security features early enough in the development process is dangerous for any application; if they are thrown in as an afterthought, security protocols and controls aren’t secure enough in the code and are easy enough to cause to fail.

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It’s likely that you’ll utilize cloud-based apps not only for simple calculations but also for organizing and sorting through the mounds of data you collect. You must be certain that these applications have reliable security features so your information is secure from prying eyes. Likewise, if you choose to use the cloud simply to store sensitive company information, you must be sure to read up on cloud security and use the best services for data protection. Security is crucial in every service you employ, from financial records to emails, and it is a needless risk to begin using a cloud-based app without some basic research into its security protocols.

The best path to secure cloud-based apps is using only those that have been around for long enough to be tested by other companies. Developers are rushing to put their cloud-based services on the market, which means they’re neglecting to incorporate the necessary security you must rely on, but once an application has been used for a certain amount of time, it’s likely the developers have begun to issue updates to address any negligent security present in the programming. Though it may be tempting to start pumping your data into the latest and greatest app to hit the market, the risk of exposing your data to harmful hackers is never worth the risk.

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Cloud-based apps are unbelievably useful, but make sure you’re keeping you and your company safe with the right security. The apps are only budget-friendly if you know you won’t have to pay for a huge data leak sometime in the near future.

How do you feel about the cloud? Do you find it useful? What do you use it for?

This information has been provided as a guest post.

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