Being an entrepreneur in the digital age, I’m no stranger to working online.
A term that’s popular for working online "The Cloud." While you might envision those puffy collections of water vapor in the sky, technology has adapted the term to some pretty crazy technology.
According to Cloud Storage 101, “Cloud computing (also informally known as ‘on-demand-computing’) is a type of computing that takes place over the internet. Typically, any online sharing of resources, data and information can be considered cloud computing.”
To put it simply, the cloud is a collection of your information in a location that’s accessible from virtually anywhere. The information you store “in the cloud” can even be processed in the cloud, reducing the workload on your personal and corporate technology.
Related Article: How Cloud-Based Security Can Protect You Against Data Theft
Is the Cloud as Safe as Your Computer Hard Drive?
How does this shared, on-demand computing technology stack up against your in-house computers and servers? In terms of security, your physical hard drive (internal or external) might not be as secure as you think. It could be physically stolen from your home or office. Leave your laptop behind and you’re out of luck.
Because of a hard drive’s lack of geographic redundancy and risk of physical theft, some would argue a cloud solution is actually more secure than your corporate data storage. While transmitting data to a server leaves one (theoretically) vulnerable to unwanted interception of the information they’re transmitting, there are a few things to consider:
- Your physical hard drive or server in your office could be hacked. Employees are infamous for falling for phishing threats, which some reports indicate work as much as 50 percent of the time.
- The information that’s transmitted from your computer to the server that handles your company’s data is encrypted (or should be) and then transmitted via an SSL connection.
You need to ask your cloud service provider some specific questions and verify the answers when possible. What kind of facility and network security is in place at the location where my information will be stored? Access to the servers should be limited to critical personnel. The servers should be secured behind a biometric scanner and/or employee badge system that prevents unauthorized physical access.
In addition, your information should be stored redundantly in geographically diverse locations. This way, if there is a flood, fire or power outage at the server’s location, an off-site backup system can be flipped on.
Related Article: Internet of Things: Security, Compliance, Risks and Opportunities
Finally, a reputable cloud service will completely eliminate unnecessary connections to the servers and computing infrastructure that handles your information. All connections will be monitored to ensure that only legitimate connection requests are honored (i.e. Port Blocking and strong Firewalls).
What is the company’s track-record on recent breaches and compromises of customer data? A quality Google search should turn up any news stories involving the cloud company you’re considering doing business with. When customer data is at stake, you shouldn’t leave any unturned. Your reputation is on the line. If you lose customer data, you’ll lose customer trust.
Your Business Is Probably Already Operating in the Cloud
The truth is, most modern business software has an element that works in the cloud to provide data synchronization. If you can access the same information on your smartphone, laptop, and desktop, you’re in the cloud. The demand for accessibility has forced software platforms to get onboard with the ease-of-access the cloud offers.
The reputations of major brands like Apple, Google, Microsoft, PayPal and Adobe are resting on the security of their cloud ecosystems to protect their customers’ data. With these heavy hitters moving into the cloud space, it’s becoming less likely every day that your company will suffer a breach while using a reputable cloud service.
In my personal opinion, using a cloud platform offers too many benefits and adds a serious backstop to your physical hardware in your office. If something happens, your files are safe and secure around the world. As long as your team is on their A-game, keeping things secure and encrypted shouldn’t be too challenging.
What do you think? Have you had a bad experience with cloud-based infrastructure? Would you trust your company’s information in the cloud?