Is the Cloud Rendering Your Antivirus Useless?

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 2/12/16 8:00 AM

Cloud computer securityImagine this scenario: It’s early evening. You’ve left work for the day and are getting ready to enjoy dinner. You see an email on your phone that alerts you to some work related emergency that needs to be handled immediately. A wave of disheartenment washes over you as you realize you left your work computer back at the office. But wait...there’s hope! Everything you need to do can be done by simply logging into “the cloud.” You jump on the family PC, log in, and take care of business.


Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to you, your home PC’s antivirus had expired and had a virus on it that infected every company file stored in the cloud.


This is not a scenario pulled from our imagination. We have seen situations like this (and worse) play out in reality. The cost is often thousands of dollars in recovery fees, or worse, gigabytes of unrestorable data.


There’s no question that using a cloud-based server for business applications is a great option for many organizations, especially for smaller companies. The ability to have server storage maintained outside four physical walls can be cost-effective and efficient.


But while we’re advocates of many cloud based business options, there are also security measures that need to be taken into measures that organizations often forget to consider.


Great Antivirus Software Isn’t Good Enough

Even if your entire company is secured with the best antivirus software available, it’s vital to remember that it can only protect the actual devices and hardware it is installed on. The thought that “my company has great antivirus software” should never stop you from being cautious about the machines you use to do your work.


If you log into the cloud from an unsecured computer, even for a minute, you open your entire organization up to risk. Think of it like this, your network’s security is only as strong as the weakest piece of hardware you use.


Any application that has access to, or syncs with, all of your company’s files and directories, is a potential risk if the proper security measures aren’t considered. If you have any amount of high level access to sensitive files and directories, then log in from an unprotected computer, a virus can actually access the files in your cloud (all your files) and ruin those files.


All it takes is for an infected computer to access a cloud-based application or server once before opening important company data to vulnerabilities such as viruses or fraud or worse. If you’re taking precaution and spending good money on all your other IT infrastructure, but don’t take the same precaution with your employees’ computers, then you’re devaluing your investment.


How To Double Down On Security And Ensure The Safety Of Your Data

The best way to ensure that your company is safe and secure is to enact a two-fold solution.


Solution 1:

Make sure you have excellent antivirus software across your entire network. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many organizations opt for the free, default antivirus option without taking their organizational needs into consideration. Get in touch with a trusted IT partner to ensure that your security solutions are up to par.


Then, make sure the executives and employees in your organization understand that you’ve supplied business grade machines for a reason. Educate them on the importance of never using a non-company sponsored computer or other device to log into secure company applications.


Solution 2:

Once you’ve secured your company’s devices and all employees know not to access the cloud from an unprotected computer, you still need to put redundancy in place. Leaving all your company’s sensitive information in one place is never a good idea. You always want a backup to the backup.



Sure, cloud servers and applications are a great place to start because they’re cost effective and efficient, but if a cloud based file system becomes infected, you’ll likely be in trouble because the recovery is outside of your control.


Having a physical server or storage device of your own that the data synchronizes or is replicated to, in addition to the cloud, is the best option because it can be easily monitored and backed up. Even if you don’t have a server room in your building, having a backup server solution stored off-site with a trusted IT partner will go a long way in securing your company’s data. An IT partner can monitor the status of this system and will receive an alert if a server goes down. For instance, at Data Evolution, when we receive an alert like this, we address the problem, no matter the time of day. If a virus spreads in the cloud, it has the potential to infect or delete files all night long before someone notices the damage the next morning.


Another huge benefit of doing your own backup is that you don’t have to pay your cloud provider thousands of dollars (yes, thousands) to restore any lost or infected files. Again, cloud solutions are great but you need to know the risks and protect your company’s valuable assets.


If you want to learn more about how Data Evolution can help you secure your network and create file or server redundancy for your organization,