by Tal Frankfurt

I would like to share with you all a true story. Last year I received an urgent phone call from an executive director of a small synagogue; when she called their board was considering migrating their organization to the cloud. After our conversation she took my proposal to their board and a day after a meeting with them she called to express their concern. Their board members though that the “cloud is too dangerous, it is not secure.” Instead of migrating to the cloud they decided to upgrade their severs and moved to one of those client/server based databases.

Last year their region experienced some serious thunder storms. Their offices were struck by lightning and “fried” their servers; as a result, the synagogue lost all of their data (they did not have any backup!) and due to the lost servers, they now don’t have a system to manage their upcoming event.

Don’t Confuse Security and Control

People tend to think that if they don’t see their information, then it is not secure. I always tell our clients that as a nonprofit organization, they should focus on bringing a positive social change to their community and let someone else deal with their IT needs.

Additionally, since the “cloud” became a buzz word many solutions added it to their name. But is your data really secured there? So how can you know if your most valuable asset, your data, is in good hands?

Be Aware of the False Cloud

  1. Do your homework – It is easy to overlook this but due diligence will save you a lot of future headaches. When choosing a cloud provider, make sure that the provider has a good reputation in the market. Additionally, you need to confirm that it has secure data centers to protect your data. To confirm that, make sure that their data centers include at least: access control, physical security, environmental controls, power and network controls, network protection, backups (!!!), and internal and third-party testing and assessments.
  2. Always back up your data – This is one of the most overlooked aspects of cloud computing and one of the easiest ways to increase control of your data. While your cloud provider should back your data in multiple places, natural disasters occur; the relationship with the provider can get messy or unsuspected breach can severely damage your organization. Unforeseen issues arise and if you are not prepared to handle such an event, you are putting yourself at tremendous risk.

Rest assured that your data in the cloud is much more secure than what lives on a tower under your desk or in a small server room. However, just like any other IT project, you have to do your homework and in the case of security, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Tal Frankfurt is the Founder and CEO of Cloud for Good, the developers of Cloud for Synagogues, a Synagogue Relationship Management application built on the Salesforce.com platform.