How Secure Is Cloud Computing?
The cloud computing market is becoming increasingly saturated. This has led to masses of content flooding the web claiming to have the answer to one of the cloud computing security market’s most pressing questions: how secure is cloud computing?
Why Is Cloud Computing Security a Source of Anxiety?
Since the invention of cloud computing in the 1960s, when the concept of an “intergalactic computer network” was first introduced, cloud computing has redefined the world of computing technology.
What began as an archaic, goliath-like computer—enabling two or more individuals to use a device concurrently—set a course for virtualisation, the Internet of Things (IoT), private cloud platforms, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and much more.
Put simply, cloud computing technology has served as the foundation for many of the platforms, software, and infrastructure that we so heavily rely on in enterprise environments today.
The benefits of cloud computing are largely indisputable. However, the move away from localised storage and systems has naturally raised some concerns among consumers and businesses alike.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of the average consumer. Someone who interacts with cloud computing for personal purposes (i.e., cloud storage) on a day-to-day basis. For them, the concept of local storage is less abstract and easier to grasp—they have a general sense that their data storage is beneath their very nose.
Arguably, this has cultivated a false sense of security
Cloud computing, on the other hand, affords no such reassurances (however baseless they might be). Cloud computing feels less tangible, more distant, and beyond the reach of your control.
This final point—on the subject of control—is especially important. Not so many years ago, localised storage, platforms, and systems were the norm. As such, the responsibility to ensure secure IT services and infrastructure was laid unambiguously at the feet of individual businesses.
With cloud computing, the responsibility is less clearly defined and businesses are asked to relinquish much of their control over their IT environment, as their IT security oversight shrinks significantly.
For many, this is a source of anxiety—and rightly so. It is likely that in your early experiences with IT and technology, the importance of taking responsibility for your own security was emphasised forcefully and repetitively.
After all, the consequences of failed IT security can be disastrous. So, it isn’t surprising that the prospect of parting with your control is daunting.
Like many businesses, you may have found the following to be true:
- Cloud software security is a source of stress, and you have concerns surrounding data protection, data loss, and cybersecurity threats.
- You haven’t found suitable answers to the question of how to secure cloud data.
- You have concerns regarding the security options provided by cloud computing solutions.
Each of these issues is rooted in a widespread lack of insight into how cloud computing environments keep your data and systems secure.
What is Cloud Technology?
Although the technology that drives cloud computing is reasonably complex, the vast majority of consumers and businesses use the cloud on a daily basis. If you’ve ever used Dropbox, Netflix, Google Docs, or Yahoo Mail, then you have used cloud services.
In the simplest of terms, any service or software that is not located on a device or computer. But rather, is web-based, relies on the internet and is a cloud-based technology.
Any data (i.e., files, videos, and images) that you save on a cloud service is stored on third-party servers. Major providers of these servers include Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
The cloud enables you to access your data from anywhere, as long as you are using a computer or device that has an internet connection. In practice, this affords users increased accessibility and flexibility. In addition, cloud computing relieves pressure on your devices’ storage, capacity and power.
What about cybersecurity? How secure is cloud computing, in real terms?
Cloud Computing Security: How Does It Work?
What happens if your cloud provider’s servers crash?
How do cloud providers ensure that they deliver the most secure cloud hosting solution?
How can you trust providers to secure IT services for your business?
Although these questions are certainly worth asking, cloud companies typically employ more sophisticated cybersecurity measures. Especially in comparison to localised and on-premises alternatives.
While the security options that cloud computing solutions provide should certainly be interrogated. The concerns surrounding cloud software security are disproportionate to the actual security risks of cloud computing.
Cloud computing, by nature, is highly resilient to a range of security threats. These threats could have a severe impact on your business operations. This includes natural disasters, physical damage, office burglary, data loss, and data theft.
Common Security Options Provided by Cloud Computing Solutions
Here are just a few of the many security measures that cloud providers leverage to ensure secure IT services and data protection for businesses.
Typically, cloud servers are located in warehouses that very few individuals are granted access to. This equipment is not kept on-premises for each individual business or user. As such, it reduces the risk of physical damage or theft.
This reduced risk also applies to the data stored on the servers. Which, when stored on-premises, would otherwise be exposed to various threats. For instance, malicious insider activity, malware, ransomware, and accidental deletion.
To account for potential natural disasters, like floods and fires, cloud systems are distributed geographically and include data redundancy.
Applying patches and updates is a frustrating and often time-consuming activity. Which is why many of us ignore update notifications for as long as we possibly can. Although this seems to be common practice, failure to implement updates can create significant vulnerabilities in your infrastructure that could easily be exploited by cybercriminals.
Many updates provide security patches to keep your devices and data protected against the latest malware and viruses. With cybercrime becoming increasingly sophisticated, accounting for the latest threats plays a critical role in establishing secure IT services.
Cloud computing relieves businesses of responsibility for updates. Providers that oversee cloud servers consistently review and update their security practices. This ensures optimal cloud computing security.
To establish the most secure cloud hosting service, many providers are utilising artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance data protection measures.
AI enables cloud providers to analyse and improve their security profile. AI automates the process of vulnerability-identification. In addition, AI uses built-in algorithms; this eliminates the risk of human error associated with relying on IT personnel to oversee infrastructure and data.
Cloud computing providers depend on firewalls to safeguard business data and files. Firewalls, whether software- or hardware-based, assign rules to the traffic entering a network. They filter out abnormal or suspicious traffic. In effect, firewalls create a wall between data and hackers, and they significantly reduce the risk of virus or malware infiltration.
Another notable benefit of cloud computing security is that it provides ultra-redundancy. That is, it accounts for potential power outages and hardware failures.
The majority of cloud providers geographically distribute their systems, as already mentioned, in addition to creating multiple copies of data and storing it in separate data centers. This means that if one data center experiences a failure or is struck by a natural disaster, you can access data quickly and easily from one of the backup servers.
This also enables companies to restore their systems, recover data, and return to full operation following accidental data deletion or a cyberattack.
External Security Testing
Many cloud providers enlist external security experts to independently test their software and servers. These audits and tests ensure that they are safeguarded against hacking attempts. This establishes another line of defense against security threats and significantly enhances cloud software security.
Most cloud providers use encryption as standard to deter hacking attempts and make it significantly harder for cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data. Encryption scrambles data, essentially coding it, to make it unreadable to hackers.
How To Secure Cloud Data
If you are wondering how to secure data in cloud computing, then it may be time to reframe your understanding of cloud computing security.
When you choose a cloud computing provider, the onus is on the provider to deliver secure IT services. To ensure that you are using the most secure cloud hosting provider, investigate their security measures and keep an eye out for the ones listed in this guide.
Maximising Cloud Computing Security With An IT Consultancy
Recognising the opportunities and advantages that cloud computing can provide is half the battle. However, with the right support, businesses have the chance to go one step further. With Micro Pro you can ride the wave of cloud computing to achieve infinite scalability, competitive efficiency, and invaluable flexibility.
At Micro Pro, we have experience and expertise to help businesses maximise the benefits of cloud computing.
Micro Pro leverages cloud computing to deliver cost-savings, enhance security, and improve reliability for our customers.
The benefits of Micro Pro cloud solutions include:
- High availability
- Data redundancy
- Automated system and software upgrades (optional)
- Minimal upfront investment
- Reduced reliance on expensive on-site staff
- Rapid provisioning and configuration
- Flexible resource allocation and reallocation
- Only pay for resources you use
By providing a fully managed service, Micro Pro minimises the need for expensive on-site staff, improves your business continuity and optimises your security processes.
We at Micro Pro are here to empower your business. We want to enable you to reap the full range of benefits associated with cloud computing. Whether you are migrating to the cloud or hoping to maximise its benefits, we can help you get there.
If you have any questions regarding cloud computing security, or would like some more information on what we do, please feel free to get in touch.