How safe is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is, quite literally, everywhere. But as the convenience and cost have led to huge growth for personal and business use, concerns about safety and security have also risen. Media coverage of high profile security issues have been joined by increased debate over the safety of files and documents stored in remote locations. But as this infographic from Memset shows, many problems can be negated by asking the right questions and adopting the right approaches to picking a cloud service or provider.

What does safety mean for Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing safety includes more than the potential risk of hackers or criminals. The remote location used to store your data is subject to the legalities of that country, for instance, the implications for data protection if your stored data travels outside of the European Union. Recently there has been growing concern that U.S based cloud providers are potentially required to allow greater access by Government and law enforcement agencies than other locations.

Efficient safety also means understanding who will have access to your data from your suppliers, and what controls are they under, along with the certificates and standards that may apply to the company as a whole. Many suppliers ensure that data is inaccessible even to their own employees as far as possible, to ensure that this issue is minimised as far as possible.

It also means ensuring that your supplier has a strong record for uptime and availability, as business-critical documents and files shouldn’t become inaccessible. Suppliers should have multiple redundancy plans in place and be able to provide details of what happens in the event of an unforeseen outage.

A survey of more than 4,500 IT professionals around the world revealed ‘loss of control’ was their main concern for cloud computing, but using cloud services effectively means working with suppliers to ensure multiple backups, redundancy and cryptography are being implemented in the most suitable way to protect your business.

What about Cloud Computing security?

Like charity, cloud computing security begins at home. Longer, 10 character passwords which are stored using password hashing can take many years to break, even with hundreds or thousands of computers working together. But the same passwords can often be revealed in minutes in a conversation with a fraudster posing as a computer engineer.

Backing up data is obviously a good practice, but if the backup is stored in the same location, any break-in or robbery will easily target the backup along with the main storage. If you continue to operate physical backups alongside cloud storage, it’s best to ensure these are kept in a secure location away from your main business.

Although the perception of hacking is that of a teenage genius operating from a bedroom, the reality is that most attacks, such as the common Denial of Service which floods servers until they can’t cope, are increasingly automated and common uses of compromised computers around the world. Around 15% of small businesses and 30% of large organisations experienced Denial of Service attacks in 2020, and Memset, for example, deflect an average of 20 Denial of Service attacks every hour without customers ever noticing anything. That skill and experience can be prohibitively expensive if you wanted to bring it within a small business, but the scale of a dedicated cloud provider means that they ensure they are well-prepared.

Partnerships provide safety in Cloud Computing:

For the safest, most secure results, it isn’t a question of choosing to store your own data or to leave everything to a cloud provider. The best results will come from working with your chosen supplier to benefit from their experience and wisdom, and to implement education and training to your colleagues and employees.

Pick a cloud provider who is not only able to illustrate their own security and safety measures, but are also able to share knowledge and advice, and you’ll benefit from the best of both worlds.