Viruses and other malware are increasingly common, each designed to perform specific tasks that have the potential to damage your business. From silently logging and stealing data, to enlisting PCs in a botnet, or even maliciously deleting files, malware presents a significant risk to corporate intellectual property and resources.
There are many ways that a PC can become infected with a virus including:
- Receiving compromised email attachments that contain malware.
- Browsing websites that automatically download malware in the background.
- Connecting an infected USB drive to the computer.
- Users being tricked into installing virus-infected software.
However, using the Cloud in your business can help to mitigate some of these risks.
Saving files remotely
The best way to prevent virus installation is to prevent the files being stored on your PC in the first place. Infected downloads and email attachments can install themselves when stored on your computer’s hard drive, posing a significant danger to the data stored on that computer and the rest of the company network.
By saving files to the Cloud however, any malware is stored offsite so that it cannot be executed automatically. Cloud file storage is completely separate from your corporate network and thus any infected files cannot affect your computer or any others. The software-service provider will also have various safeguards in place to prevent the virus spreading through your other files.
Keeping a backup copy
The Cloud also provides a layer of redundancy, duplicating your files and, in most cases, creating a file version history. In the event that some of your files are infected or deleted, you can recover copies using the version history tools bundled with your hosted service.
These recovery tools are often quicker and simpler to use than traditional backup and restore provisions, allowing your business to re-establish normal operations quickly should malware cause problems. That said, a proper backup regime is the safest way to keep files safe – your business should select a Cloud storage provider who can guarantee their data recovery routines. These are a last resort, but should be an integral part of your disaster recovery provisions.
An extra layer of security
Using Cloud file storage in this way provides a very good remote layer of security, but your PC is still vulnerable to viruses, for example if you locally execute an infected file stored in the Cloud, or accept email connections from a compromised website.
So to complete your protection on local PCs, you should ensure that all of your company computers have up-to-date antivirus software installed that can detect infected files as they are scanned (preferably before you open them). You should also ensure all colleagues are trained not to open unsolicited, suspicious emails.
Cloud storage offers a number of benefits beyond making data more widely available for authorised users. This added protection against viruses and data loss is a significant benefit for SMEs looking for a cost-effective way to increase security at minimal cost.
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