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Cloud-based solutions are now more commonplace than ever.
To put a number to that, Forbes recently reported that cloud-based software as an industry is now worth more than $20 billion and is growing at a rate of 32% each year. Cloud storage is a big part of that insanely high number.
With a possible catch. Given how devastating a data breach or data loss can be, it makes perfect sense for the savvy business leader to wonder just how safe your business data is when stored in the cloud.
Security is a top priority—both for you (we hope) and for any cloud storage provider.
In fact, many cloud services providers maintain their data centers in a range of remote locations, protected by numerous layers of physical and software-related security.
Here are just a few of the things keeping your data safe in the cloud.
Physical cloud security
The physical security of hardware is often overlooked—but not by cloud providers.
Many incidents of data loss are the end result of a physical data breach such as the loss of a laptop or the theft of a hard drive. When it comes to cloud storage, however, data centers are often equipped with physical security that’s way beyond what you could provide in your own office. Think “military-grade” and you’re on the right track.
In addition to surveillance cameras, secure access, and physical locks on all the doors, data centers are also equipped with fire suppression systems, backup power sources, and countermeasures against dust, moisture and overheating.
All of this contributes to keeping your data physically safe, secure and intact.
One of the best things about cloud storage is that it’s remote.
Think about this. What if your brick and mortar office gets hit with a disaster such as a fire or flood. Any data stored only on local hardware would be at risk. You could conceivably lose everything.
But cloud-based data remains untouched, making it significantly easier to recover after a disaster.
Data centers, of course, are not immune to natural disaster. But when data is stored in the cloud it’s usually copied, backed-up and stashed in a number of different locations. If the unthinkable were to happen and a data center were to be destroyed altogether, the chances are high that your data would remain safe and accessible.
Additionally, any decent service provider ensures cloud security by encrypting the data it stores.
You caught that, right? Any “decent service provider.” Do your homework.
Assuming you found a good provider, your data will absolutely be encrypted. That means even if an unauthorized person gained access, all they would get would be garbled nonsense. Without the keys to decrypt the data, there’s no way to access the sensitive material you have stored in the cloud.
However . . .
So, to summarize, cloud security is pretty reliable and secure. However, like any technology, it’s not perfect. Sophisticated attacks can still threaten the safety of your data, particularly if your cloud storage providers doesn’t use high-grade encryption. (Can you tell that’s a big deal yet?)
That’s why it’s crucial to think carefully before selecting a cloud provider.
Your service provider needs to be able to meet your needs in terms of reliability and cloud security, and be clear and transparent about what they offer. On top of that, your employees need to be security conscious in the way they use the cloud so they don’t end up enabling attacks on an otherwise-secure system—for example, by using ineffective passwords or falling victim to phishing attacks.
And some industries, such as healthcare and finance, may not be able to make use of even the most sophisticated cloud storage solutions available, no matter what cloud security is implemented. Government regulations may make that impossible.
Before you move all your data over to the cloud, be sure you’re totally covered.
Wrapping things up
Cloud data storage is safer than you might think—and in many cases it is far safer than storing data locally. (Not to mention it’ll free up your server room.)
However, there are still potential vulnerabilities, and if you’re in a regulated industry you may need to think twice before making the leap to cloud-based services.