Following the recent malicious ransomware attacks, the issue of data security has never been more critical for businesses and organisations across the globe. ‘How safe is my data?’ is a question every business professional – from the smallest start-up to the biggest multinational – is asking right now. A security breach is the stuff of nightmares for any company, with the potential to bring down a site and impact revenue and reputation.
Where does cloud computing fit into this debate? There’s no question that outsourcing data storage to a cloud provider makes sense on a multitude of levels. Thanks to the cloud, companies no longer need to spend time and money building and maintaining their own energy-hungry onsite servers. Software applications can be managed remotely, freeing up time that would otherwise be spent on IT resources.
The majority of companies are now adopting some form of cloud technology, whether public, private, or hybrid. But will the high-profile ransomware attack, like the one which infected 230,000 computers in 150 countries this May, make slow adopters more or less likely to trust their data to the cloud?
The harsh fact is that every computer is vulnerable, whether its data is stored traditionally or via the cloud. Education around this issue is key. Cloud vendors and IT support companies need to be honest about the benefits and risks of any new technology. These following points are worth discussing with any business weighing up the pros and cons of cloud migration:
- Your data is still your data – it’s not ‘owned’ by the cloud and you still have responsibility for it.
- You can decide how to encrypt your data. Companies can choose to set up personal encryption keys which work in tandem with cloud providers’ own encryption services. This extra layer of security controls who can and who can’t access data stores. Without the key, the data is worthless.
- Cyber criminals are inventive. Unfortunately, there will never be a security solution that will protect data in all cases. Fraudsters are constantly updating and evolving malicious software in an ongoing game of cat and mouse.
- Stay one step ahead of the game by taking expert advice. It’s essential that businesses work with IT professionals who can plan appropriate backup and data recovery procedures – then implement that plan should disaster strike.
- Focus on fact not myth. An experienced host service provider can debunk myths surrounding the cloud. Myth one: data is not as secure in the cloud. As discussed earlier, security risks in the cloud are the same as those faced by traditional IT solutions. But with the cloud you do have an advantage – the risk is shared with your cloud hosting provider, so you’d never face disaster alone.
The key for any company considering the adoption of cloud technology is to work with an IT expert so they can review requirements and implement appropriate solutions. This will also help you to dispel any myths and preconceptions that you may have about cloud’s capabilities, security, and functionality, and help you to explore whether the pros outweigh – or indeed dismiss – any of the potential drawbacks.