While the cloud sounds like a new place to run your business from... You should think twice.  Here is why.

What is the cloud.  Where is it and what does it do?  The cloud is nothing more than just another server running on the internet.   Your Internet service provider, Your bank, credit card company,  pharmacy and any other bookmarks you use will take you to a server somewhere on the internet 

When you store your data on the internet you are opening it up to the world.  Yes.  Your clients information, your inventory and pricing, even your income and tax information is ripe for the picking.   Don't think it can happen?  Just ask some of the major banks and big box stores who have had their systems broken into.  They made it easy by placing their information on the internet for all the hackers to break into.  ... 

Our web site -- AbbottSoft, is where you are right now.,  AbbottSoft is also on a server located on the internet.  It is not located at our business location.  We don't store our clients, financial records or any business information at this location..  This internet location is here so you can review our software, download free updates if you are a licensed to use it and get your hands on our latest manuals.

We do not allow you to put your personal or business information onto our internet server.   We do not track you at all.  We also protect our own business information  which is located securely at our business location.  Our business computers are not connected to the internet in any fashion.

Why give up control?  If you place all your information -- and trust -- in the hands of someone other than yourself somewhere on the internet, you can be left lost in space if and when the business fails or closes.   Your data, even your program turned off like a light switch.   Think!  Would it not be much better if you kept control of your own future by running your business on your own computer, storing your information at your location where only you would have access and keeping it safe?  Of course it would.

What about wireless?   True. Wireless sounds more modern and is easier to setup  than a hard wired network.  Realize however that if you are wireless you are opening yourself up to a hacker sitting across the street and watching your business being ran as if he or she was inside at one of your work stations.  Example: Just think about taking your personal computer down to McDonalds and using their wireless hotspot to play on the internet when you are eating your "big mac".   If your business ;is running a wireless system to connect computers,  it is very close to what McDonalds.  Even using wireless printers can give up valuable information usable by a competitor.   

What about your data?  Ok let's talk about your software and how the database is designed.   After all the purpose of a hacker is to gain access to the data held on your hard drives.  Here is a problem.  Often software is written by a company for a type of business, but they start with another manufacturers database.   It could be a Microsoft database or many others which were the starting point for your software developers design.  .    If your software is designed this way then you just opened up another door.   Why you ask?   Each of the most popular databases has a structure which is understood by hackers and they have developed their own software which can easily break into your database and download every piece of information you store...  Real professionals are capable of designing and writing their own database from scratch.  This in turn becomes another barrier to the bad guys.

The true nature of the threat

According to Symantec Corp., a leader in information protection, targeted cyber attacks against small businesses nearly doubled in 2013, skyrocketing 91 percent compared to 2012. If you’re a small-business owner and your knee jerk reaction to that fact is Why would anyone bother to attack my business? you have essentially answered your own question.

You might think your small business doesn’t have much to steal and that it’s fairly low-profile, and as a result you might not incorporate cyber risk management into your operations as thoroughly as you should, That makes your business an extremely vulnerable and soft target for cyber criminals who aren’t looking to take down a multinational corporation—not all bad guys are after big fish. Some of them are happy to sit around and pick off low-hanging fruit until they aggregate a couple of thousand dollars of valuable material. From the mom-and-pop locksmith, the florist next door, the auto body shop down the street—and they just line them up and take them down in that fashion.”

Part of the challenge and reward of running a small business is that, as the owner, you are involved in everything—which makes it hard to focus on any single thing. Risk management tends to be something you think about when the risks are actually becoming reality, only to give way to the daily responsibilities of your “day job” once those apparent risks recede.

“We encourage small businesses to change the lens they use to view cyber risks,” says DeHetre. “For example, most small-business owners have no trouble envisioning the risks associated with a fire, burglary or lawsuit regarding their products. Intrinsically, they get how those risks could impact their business. What we try to do is get them to consider cyber risk in that same category.”

The good news is that while it might seem like a lot of extra work to incorporate cyber risk management into your overall  considerations, the end result could save you days of extra work to reconstruct your business records and quite possibly save your business in the short run.  So before you jump onto the cloud, think it through carefully and ask yourself this.  Is my security so lax that I just might as well be leaving my front doors unlocked when I go home for the night?