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Both Sides Now – the benefits using cloud technology for your recruitment business

‘I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now’. Joni Mitchell

One of the leading publishers of special-interest content and research, Raconteur, recently reported that the cloud had gone from a ‘misty concept to a solid platform essential for growth and stability in a global economic climate still coughing and spluttering its way out of recession’.

So as recruitment or HR professionals looking to attract the right candidates and staff for your business what do you know about the benefits of using the cloud, but more importantly what do you need your prospective candidates to know?

The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) are clear that cloud computing enables businesses to run their IT more effectively and cost efficiently. The technology news website, Silicon Angle, for example, recently reported that despite the technology only being around a short while, 80% of businesses surveyed said they had saved money by moving to the cloud. Raconteur says that ‘businesses at all levels are now experiencing cloud technology as a powerhouse for developing new strategies, forging closer ties with customers and tapping into the expertise of employers and partners.

The growth of cloud technology appears to have benefitted the recruitment industry in many ways. With the implementation of emails, job boards, recruitment software and file sharing, cloud technology has ensured recruitment professionals are more streamlined than ever before. For example – before the year 2000 only 20% of job applications were submitted via e-mail or online, yet since 2014 this is now over 90%. E-mails, typically used to confirm interviews, arrange meetings and receive CVs are now a vital form of communication, enabling business to connect with candidates, clients and suppliers more quickly and effectively. Host services such as Dropbox enable recruiters to keep files safe, synced and easy to share or edit on the move, and even out of office. Instant messaging technology such as Skype, MSN and WhatsApp are also used for daily activities such as internal communications, video interviews and screen sharing with candidates and clients to view documents.

It therefore seems that the key benefits of cloud technology listed by the IIA as far back as 2011 remain pertinent:

• Cost management: Businesses can scale back capital investment in new IT and ongoing maintenance of old equipment which helps reduce waste and overcapacity,

• Agility and availability: The capability to source and develop services rapidly in order to streamline operations. Deploying new equipment in hours and adjusting ‘bandwidth’ in minutes, means that marketing actions that previously needed lengthy lead-in times can be achieved almost immediately – leaving the main focus on managing costs and expectations.

• Scalability: Cloud services can be adjusted to accommodate changing levels of demand.

• Efficiency: Outsourcing IT management means businesses can concentrate on their core skills and development needs – enabling rather than limiting innovation.

• Resilience: As data centres mirror each other across geographical and economic boundaries, the cloud offers almost unlimited disaster-recovery options.

So what about the risks? In May 2015, the Sunday Times published an article titled ‘Cloud of mistrust in the air’ suggesting that while storing data in the cloud provides an essential solid platform for business growth and stability in an economic climate still struggling its way out of recession, many business leaders still remain sceptical about security. A number of security concerns were cited including; integration with existing IT, legal and regulatory compliance, loss of control, data loss and leakage, denial of service attacks, unauthorised access and malicious insiders.

When it comes to risk however, the cloud provider Tomoly quotes recent research by the Cloud Industry Forum, pointing out that while 61% of senior business decision-makers expressed such concerns over data security, only 2% had actually experienced a cloud-related security breach. This they suggest shows that businesses are in danger of not only missing out on the budgetary benefits of the cloud but may actually be less secure than had they actually migrated there. The security provider SecureData also argues that too many businesses are guilty of an overinflated view of their own capabilities where the on-premises server room is often seen as inherently secure in a way that virtualised servers cannot be. Such a mindset of ‘cloud equals danger’ appears to be as outdated as it is misguided.

Peter Tomlinson, director of BangIT Solutions in Sydney, adds more on data security and choosing the right cloud provider for your company and locations, ‘one of the major considerations is around data sovereignty and how different legal jurisdictions affect data security and third party access. Knowing who can see your data and to what basis is central to managing your risk, especially for recruitment organisations where candidate and client information is paramount to your business. You should ensure that your cloud provider can make guarantees about where the data is held, and this should also satisfy local compliance laws.’

According to the Raconteur author Dave Winder, ‘when it comes to security the cloud changes nothing, as the broad brush strokes of a secure business environment remain the same no matter where the canvas is hung’. He offers a useful acronym – ATMOSPHERE – when looking at how risk can be controlled.

• Accreditations – check your provider holds the internationally recognised standard for information security – ISO 27018.
• Tools – doing your research will reveal numerous tools available to remain secure during a cloud migration.
• Monitoring – regularly monitor and audit any externally provided service.
• Onus- contractually agree responsibility areas between organisation and provider.
• Specialise – use the cloud provider that specialises in your sector.
• Policy – follow policy-based separation of duties when migrating data to prevent privileged status abuse.
• High availability – build this into your cloud infrastructure together with secure back-up and recovery.
• Environment – know where your data is being hosted and stored.
• Risk – audit the sensitivity of your data and the requirements for access.
• Encryption – use encryption keys that are unique to specific jurisdictions and controlled from them.

As cloud computing will no doubt continue to evolve in the future it will be interesting to see how else it will revolutionise business, and whether the benefits increase and the risks reduce even further.

For more information on moving your business to the cloud, please get in touch with Recruitment Marketing Group today. We have worked with many recruitment organisations from one-man bands to international recruitment firms to offer the very best advice and solutions.

Simon Wright is the Director of Recruitment Marketing Group.

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