Cloud computing is heaven-sent for growing businesses. The advantages are many, including increased mobility, ease of collaboration with co-workers as well as colleagues and cost-efficiency.

Years ago a CRM system would require painstaking creation of a database and the purchase of servers, as well as staff to set the system up. Now a small business can get all that functionality from a cloud-based CRM. But as with all virtual solutions, it is always wise to proceed with caution when you do business in the cloud.

Below are some things all people and businesses in the cloud must know.

 Check for compatibility with your existing systems. Often, the first thing you must do when looking into a new technology is to search specifically for products that work with the solutions you are already using. Your email marketing software integrates with your help desk software, and so on. To help narrow your search for a cloud application, ask the vendor what other products work well with it. Some solutions even have their own marketplaces or directories of applications that work well with their product.

 Take security precautions. Once you’ve chosen a cloud service, the issue of password security is heightened because now your data is accessible from anywhere. If possible, choose a cloud service with two-step authentication and make passwords on mobile devices mandatory. There’s one site where you should always use a unique and strongest possible password — your email inbox. Because this is the one place where all your other logins redirect to when you reset a password. This one location is the passport to all your other online assets.

Always backup your data. One of the most overlooked aspects of cloud computing and one of the easiest way to increase the control of your data is to make sure that whatever happens, you have a secure backup of that data. This is more about securing your business than your actual data but provides the same type of peace of mind. We have seen big companies lose its customers’ data, by not having a backup, leaving them with nothing.

Get references from other clients. When in doubt, ask your cloud provider for client references that require stringent security measures. Financial, healthcare, insurance, or government organizations are a good start. While references don’t guarantee anything, chances are if other companies that have similar security goals are using the provider, you may be a good fit as well. Be sure to contact these references directly when possible to see what these companies are using the cloud services for, and the steps they have taken to secure their