Businesses can never be too careful when it comes to the safety and integrity of their digital assets. Cloud storage makes it possible to store data in third-party data centers, such as those belonging to Google, Amazon, or Microsoft. As the uptake of cloud services in the enterprise continues to soar, the question of whether data is truly safe in the cloud continues to pop up. The issues pertaining to cloud security are undoubtedly complex, but it’s a common mistake to write them off altogether.
The misconception that data stored in the cloud is inherently less secure is an understandable one. After all, placing your confidential data in the hands of a third party doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, especially if you don’t know who’s looking after it. In the end, it would be irresponsible to simply state that your data is safe in the cloud. Upload it to a public, consumer-grade online storage service, for example, and then it most certainly won’t be safe, at least not insofar as industry standard compliance and security are concerned.
What are the benefits of cloud storage?
Contrary to the misconception, one of the major advantages of using business-grade online storage services is that data is ordinarily far more secure than it is when stored in an in-house data center. Large data centers, such as those owned and operated by the three biggest cloud providers, are among the most secure premises on the planet. Not only do they have highly trained security professionals patrolling the premises around the clock, they also have access to the latest and most effective technical and administrative controls available.
They also have built-in redundancies, typically storing copies of all data in at least three different locations. If the primary is rendered inoperable by something like a catastrophic hardware failure or natural disaster, there’s always a backup to maintain maximum service uptime.
Understanding the risks
Although the cloud certainly isn’t a foolproof system for ensuring data security, the risks of using online storage are almost entirely in the hands of the businesses relying on them. If you don’t take care of your login credentials, for example, there’s not much the service provider can do to help you.
You also need to ensure your data is kept safe on its journey to and from the data center. While the convenience of anywhere-accessibility does potentially increase the attack surface, many of the same rules of data protection apply to both the cloud and on-site computing resources. Most of these come down to mitigating the risks presented by human error, particularly in an age when social engineering scams are being carried out to steal login credentials and other confidential information.
It’s also important to remember that malicious software can contaminate data stored online. Although the chances of malware penetrating a cloud storage service itself are negligible, data corrupted by malware on a local machine might be automatically synchronized to online storage. However, that comes down to a problem with your local network or endpoints, rather than the cloud provider itself.
Fortunately, the cloud can solve such problems by storing previous snapshots of the data before it was damaged. In fact, the cloud’s built-in redundancies make it a perfect solution for implementing a backup and disaster recovery plan that maximizes business uptime and reduces your exposure to risks like ransomware and other threats.
Cloud storage provides businesses the tools they need to maximize data security and integrity, but the solutions are only as effective as people are at using them. It’s up to you to ensure you have full control over access rights and that all communications between your local network and the remote server are protected by end-to-end encryption. If you can do that, the cloud presents the safest venue for your digital assets.
Netcom Solutions provides expertly managed and monitored IT solutions to help make your journey to the cloud a successful one. Talk to us today to get started.
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