It is not safe for your business to rely on services that are free, such as Yahoo, Gmail and Dropbox. Such services are not intended for business use and they are a security risk. There have been a number of hacks recently where data has been compromised from free services. It is much safer to have a proper mail or cloud storage service installed that is bespoke to your own business needs.
You might think that you are saving money by using free services for your business. After all, email, cloud storage and antivirus software can be expensive when you have to buy licences for the entire organisation. Think again: there are many good reasons why free services are not suitable for business use.
They are not really free
It is often said that if you are not paying for a product, then you are the product and this has never been more true than when it comes to the software industry. Google, Microsoft et al are not charities, and they use their free tools for a number of reasons. One is to draw you into their ecosystem and to make you reliant on their software so they have a captive audience. Some business models rely on drawing you in for free and then charging “power users” a subscription fee. Or – more worryingly – your data could be being monitored and sold on. The only way to be sure is to take control yourself and know what you are paying for.
They are not suitable for business use
There are two ways in which free services are unsuitable for business use. The first is to do with the terms and conditions of the software. Most free services are not permitted for use in profit-making enterprises, and business users often subsidise the free offering for consumers. This could result in legal action being taken against you for misusing the software, or a lack of technical support when things go wrong. AVG free virus guard for example cannot be used for business even if you are a small business.
The second way is security: Free services are unlikely to meet the security standards expected of businesses, and in return you will not have the security of guaranteed up-time nor the benefit of compensation if the service fails or ceases trading.
They can be targets for hackers
Last year, Yahoo, Dropbox and many other free services were hacked. The stolen passwords were shared on the internet. The Dropbox hack in particular highlights the risks – in this case the site was hacked using a user-name and password stolen from elsewhere. Imagine if your staff use the same passwords on your free mail service as your servers. You could be handing burglars the keys to your house just to save a few pounds!
Digitalquill can replicate most of these free services in a cost-effective and secure way for your Hull or East Riding business. For more information call us on 01482 424402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.