Are you a part of the “folded arms gang”? A club of IT professionals that just doesn’t see the value of cloud computing and speaks directly to traditional IT practices. If so, your concerns probably relate back to the security and longevity traditional IT services. But, as you know, the IT industry is always changing and the cloud is the update that you are missing out on. The cloud is continually proving its value to change-resistant IT professionals and busting misconceptions left and right.
One of these misconceptions happens to be that the cloud does not offer the same security and privacy that on-premise solutions do. Here are 10 reasons why this is a misconception:
1. More Expertise Means Less Error
Small companies that use cloud storage benefit from the expertise of the cloud provider. Many small businesses do not actually have an IT professional on staff and rely on the experience of the owner or an administrative assistant. In most cases, these people do not have the in-depth knowledge of cyber security. Also, those who work for small businesses know that you don't just wear one hat. That means time must be budgeted well, but in many cases, cyber-security is left on the back-burner- an afterthought. In some cases, too, time may be spent on cyber security that would be better spent on core business operations.
2. Access to Infrastructure
The lack of physical access to servers in the cloud can help protect your data from burglars and disgruntled employees who might otherwise cause problems. Additionally, data in the cloud creates geographic and physical redundancy, assuring that one disaster can't wipe out your cloud and on-premise data all at once.
On-premise, server rooms may only be protected by a locked door. Cloud data centers have security precautions smaller companies simply cannot afford, such as guards and surveillance cameras, with the cost shared between everyone using the servers. Properly-designed cloud services will also keep access to data controlled, and third parties may not even know the exact geographical location of your data.
3. Frequent security audits.
It is also hard for small businesses to afford proper security audits, but cloud providers do these once a year. Again the cost is split between those using the service, bringing it within the range of even micro businesses. Some businesses may never do audits and others may only be able to afford them every five years. Cloud providers also do penetration/vulnerability testing, which can also be prohibitive for smaller companies.
4. Hardware and Software Stay Up to Date
Keeping up with updates can be hard, and smaller businesses may also have older equipment that cannot be fully updated and which they cannot afford to replace. Cloud providers update their software regularly. Larger companies may also end up with different machines running different versions, which can cause security gaps.
5. Designed with Security in Mind
Generally, on-site systems are designed with the assumption that the primary protection for your data will be a firewall. This means that if somebody gets inside your firewall, they often have free reign to access systems and data. Cloud systems, because they are intended to be accessed remotely, have multiple layers of security.
By nature, a cloud-based system stores all data in multiple places. At least three copies is standard. This means that your data is protected from corruption as well as hardware failure.
Cloud companies follow specific regulations to gain compliance with many industry requirements, meaning if they want to keep a compliance, then they must adhere to the rules set by them. It is in the best interest of the provider to keep these compliances, as they are selling points for security. If they break regulation, they lose their compliance, and risk losing their current customers or any prospective customers that were reliant on them.
What does this mean for you? These compliances give you added peace of mind, and the best part is that you don’t have to pay anything extra for them!
Example of compliances would include HIPPA, PCI and SOC compliance.
Security is just one piece of the cloud pie, and reliability is another. When selecting a cloud service provider, it is important to make sure they are reliable and have employed redundant solutions to ensure high availability. If your provider’s main system goes down, it should have the following safety nets in place: automatic failover, servers, backup storage, security systems, and some sort of redundancy of power (i.e a generator). These safety nets increase SLA percentages, which lower the chances of the cloud provider, and ultimately you, experiencing downtime. For this reason, service providers are fighting to add an extra 9 to the end of their SLA percent (99.99999%), just to stay competitive.
If you didn’t catch that, it means cloud service providers are so reliable that they experience downtime less than .001% of the time. Less downtime means more time you can sell to your customers!
9. Ability to Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan
As mentioned above, one of the most important things for any business is to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of a disaster. As more companies are investing in disaster recovery techniques, they are becoming overly complacent without implementing a proper test. Not testing your disaster recovery solution can severely hinder your security efforts in the event of a disaster. Without the cloud, testing a DR plan can be timely and cost-prohibitive. With the cloud, your plan can be tested with ease, for an affordable cost.
Another concern preventing many companies from shifting to the cloud is the amount of privacy that the cloud offers. The belief that cloud cannot be private can also be easily debunked. Regardless of your company's chosen cloud strategy (Public, Private or Hybrid), your business's data can only be accessed by YOU. Even in the public cloud data is housed under lock and (encryption) key. If privacy is still a huge concern for your business, your company can invest in a private cloud solution, where your data is housed on it's own network.
The cloud protects you in many ways, from compliance, to the way you keep your systems online. To be quite frank, without the cloud you are less secure than you are with it. Now-a-days to be part of the “folded arms gang” you have to neglect the widely accepted facts about the cloud. Yes, it can be scary to change a piece of your business that is so vital to its continuity, but the cloud has already proven its ability to adapt. No longer is the cloud in the first adopters stage, and many companies are reaping the benefits that the cloud has to offer. Shifting to the cloud is simple, and cost-effective, and you can do it today!