It’s predicted that the majority of businesses will have migrated to the cloud in some capacity by the end of this decade. Its flexible nature means that cloud computing offers a wealth of benefits to small businesses in particular. Services can be scaled up or down to fit all budgets as needed, and collaboration is enabled with the ability to store files that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

At the same time there have been major security concerns surrounding cloud computing. Its nebulous nature means that it can be vulnerable to attacks from different entry points. However, in many ways using the cloud can be a boon for security. Here’s a closer look at how this could work.

1. Data Can Be Better Obscured

There’s a misconception that perimeter protection is easier with on-premise computing, but with the wealth of security programs out there it is actually just as effective in the cloud. Access points can be secured in both cases. The biggest risk for businesses is from hackers or employees with questionable intentions. Human error can also be an issue. In the cloud, data is stored away from the premises, making it more difficult for an employee to locate the data they’re seeking. They can’t automatically find it on a work computer. Cloud computing helps limit physical access to sensitive data.

2. More Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of cloud computing for any business is its flexibility. Business owners can access information or files from anywhere with an internet connection. There are security issues that crop up with this type of mobility – it’s harder to retain control of a network’s security if the network is accessed from remote locations. Yet the very flexibility of the cloud can actually boost security for businesses, provided that a few precautions are taken. The cloud’s flexibility means that you can designated access to privileged users only, and offer tiers of access depending on a user’s security clearance. Data access can be limited based on context. If an employee is signing in from a public area like a coffee shop or airport, extra sign-in steps could be required and access could be limited. This flexibility can help protect data on the go.

3. Device-Level Security

Cloud security works a bit differently in that you need to think about securing all access points rather than just a single one. By implementing security protocol right down to the device level, it raises a business’s security profile overall. Sensitive financial data can be better protected when all possible entry points have the proper walls up. At the device level, corporate data can be separated from personal data. With regular mobile app scans and patch management at the device level, security breaches can be held off.

4. Cost-Effective Protection

Services like Nokia’s Cloud for business can often be a more cost-effective computing solution. Power usage, IT requirements, rack space, and other requirements are decreased. As a result, it costs less for services like upgrading hardware, maintenance, and even security. For businesses that may be just starting out, the reduced costs elsewhere means that you can spend a bit more on security.

5. Cloud Business Face Rigorous Standards

Because cloud service providers are in the business of selling security to businesses, it’s in their very best interests to make sure their services are up to date. They face rigorous standards like Soc 2 Type II, and undergo regular audits.

Still not sure? For those concerned about security, a hybrid solution may offer the best of both worlds. This allows businesses to benefit both from the convenience of on-premise computing and all of the cost-saving flexibility of the cloud.