April 4, 2017 by Mitch Taube Categories: Software & Products

The phrase “working in the cloud” used to be unfamiliar to many, but it’s the way smart business is done today. Cloud computing has proven to be a secure, cost-effective way for organizations to meet accessibility, functionality, and flexibility needs in their operations. From managing document approval to running accounts payable, human resources, and order fulfillment, cloud software is not just an accepted platform, it’s critical for keeping competitive in today’s business environment.

When it comes to document management in the cloud, the benefits are immediate and long-lasting. From reliability, cost, and performance perspectives, there’s no other option that offers the freedom and capability of cloud computing. Before partnering with a cloud provider, consider these four things in each of the following ways:

Security of Cloud Storage

Security stands as one of the main concerns for most firms with regard to cloud computing. Given this, any trustworthy cloud-based document management software will come packed with measures designed to prevent data breaches and prevent hacking.

You will want to look for:

  • Multi-location data centers on multiple grids and backed up to secondary data centers in real-time to ensure business continuity
  • Segregated customer data stores to create a multitenant environment without having your data shared in the same logical location with someone else’s
  • Independent auditors conducting regular SOC (service organization controls) audits of processes ranging from product development to data center management
  • Cloud management software systems that run daily vulnerability tests performed by leading anti-virus software
  • An infrastructure built on best-of-breed equipment for maximum performance and uptime
  • Ongoing third-party vulnerability assessments
  • Encryption capabilities to ensure that in the unlikely event that documents are accessed by an unauthorized person, s/he won’t be able to view any data
  • IP-based access restrictions to ensure data isn’t shared in less secure environments, such as a mobile device connected via free airport or coffee shop WiFi

Reliability in the Cloud

None of the above security measures mean much if a firm’s employees can’t rely on cloud-based software to be ready when they need it. Lucky for them, cloud computing is designed specifically to be available at all times, no matter where, when, or how people want to work. Instead of needing to rely on the infrastructure present in an office or the IT personnel on-hand, cloud software providers host software on their own servers, with open-ended availability. Better still, the software responds quickly to new asks, meaning individual companies won’t have to wait for system infrastructure to scale up to meet changing, growing needs.

And, most importantly, expected uptime when computing in the cloud is a very high 99.9%. To ensure this, reliable cloud software has independent monitoring systems housed from different worldwide locations constantly analyzing uptime and responsiveness. Best-of-breed cloud software will also incorporate route control technology that selects the best routing path available at any given time to guarantee optimal responsiveness.

Compliance Controls of Cloud Based Software Providers

Any cloud-based software provider worth its salt will utilize compliance controls with SSAE 16, which allows service organizations, including cloud computing providers, to disclose control activities and processes to their customers and their customers’ auditors. Regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and HIPAA requirements mean that corporations have to audit their suppliers’ internal controls, too, and SSAE 16 offers comprehensive audit reporting to facilitate compliance with each of these important regulations.

The best companies also work with data centers that have been SOC 2 Type 2 audited, which guarantees a cloud service provider can keep its clients’ most sensitive data secure. Not only is it a good idea to use SOC 2 Type 2 audited companies for your cloud storage and management needs, in some cases it’s increasingly required by regulatory agencies and auditors.

Credibility of Cloud Computing Service

Anyone with a server and a software portal can claim to offer “cloud computing,” but you need to be certain that you’re working with a credible service provider. Insisting on only doing business with firms that meet the compliance requirements above is a great way to ensure that you’re using a trustworthy source. Another good idea is investigating details like awards received and the length of time the firm has been providing their cloud computing services, as it provides a larger, clearer picture of the company as a whole. You might also want to know about their other clients: the larger and more established the client list, the more trustworthy the company.

Cloud Management Software and Your Business

Cloud-based document management software, workflow automation software, and cloud storage can change the game for your firm. You’ll save on expenses and operations while also allowing your employees the freedom to work harder, smarter, and on their own terms. It used to sound so futuristic, but now it’s just the way that things are done. Cloud software has revolutionized business practices in everything from accounts payable to human resources, and it will continue to do so for smart, forward-thinking companies that invest in it.