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How to Move Your Business Data into the Cloud -- Safely The process of migrating to the cloud can loom like a thunderhead over a business. Here's advice on a safer path.

By Dan O'Shea

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Gregory Potter, data analyst at market research firm In-Stat
Gregory Potter, data analyst at market research firm In-Stat.
Photo© Jeff Newton

Q: Which business apps should I put in the cloud, and which should I keep in-house to avoid a security breach?

Cloud services are rapidly becoming a more efficient, more scalable and less costly way for small businesses to manage data, applications and websites. Both public and private cloud services let businesses keep IT overhead low while encouraging flexibility for users to access corporate data from just about anywhere on any device.

But some high-profile outages and mishaps within the last year serve as a reminder that outsourcing IT to the cloud does not come without risk. Last April, a cloud data center outage affected Amazon Web Services clients. A Google Gmail outage two months earlier resulted in some business clients losing e-mails.

Companies like Microsoft and Dropbox also have had problems, and though overall such occurrences may be rare, businesses should pause before migrating their IT assets en masse to the cloud, says Gregory Potter, data analyst at market research firm In-Stat. "Small businesses can make great use of cloud services, but nothing is 100 percent reliable," he says. "You just have to be smart about these things and plan for the possibility of disaster."

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