Cloud computing has created a variety of benefits for businesses, including greater flexibility, reduced IT costs, and more efficient use of resources. Unfortunately, storing data in the cloud can also raise a lot of security concerns, and these concerns are frequently cited as one of the main reasons that companies that have not pursued cloud data storage yet are hesitant about doing so.
Simply put, cloud data storage is only as safe as the cloud data center provider with which you choose to work. IT leaders are right to be wary about the security of the data they store on the cloud, because the cloud service provider they work with will have access to the data at all times, while the customer will have no control over the people the cloud service provider hires or the security controls the cloud service provider puts in place. For these reasons, it’s important that customers understand the security controls that their cloud service provider puts in place, and that customers take steps to make sure they’re working with a cloud provider they can trust.
Key risks involved with cloud data storage Sensitive data access
When customers give your company their sensitive data, they are entrusting you to store it safely and keep it out of reach from criminals. A breach that results in the loss of sensitive data could lead to lowered customer satisfaction and reputation damage from which your company may find it hard to recover. Make sure that your cloud service provider offers special security provisions to protect sensitive data.
Restricted user access
Do you know who has access to your data? If your cloud service provider can’t give you details about how they plan to restrict access to your data, you may never know. Make sure you find this out before selecting a provider.
Disaster recovery is frequently named as one of the strengths of cloud storage, and while it is true that cloud data storage is more resilient than on-site physical data storage, you’re still depending on your cloud service provider to provide disaster recovery. Find out what plan they have for ensuring data availability in the wake of a disaster, and make sure it meets your standards.
How a cloud data center can help you prepare for the risks of data storage
Although there are numerous risks involved with storing data in the cloud, it is still possible for businesses to enjoy all of the benefits of the cloud without falling prey to the risks. Working with a trustworthy, professional cloud services provider is one of the key factors involved with avoiding these risks, and experts say that in spite of the worries many IT leaders have about cloud data security, most of the companies who do choose to work with a cloud service provider end up finding that those worries are overblown.
Not all cloud service providers are created equal
At the core of the arguments around cloud data security is the issue of trust. Just as companies had to learn to trust the software and hardware vendors they work with, so too must they learn to trust their cloud service provider. If the cloud service provider they choose to work with can offer enterprise-level data encryption, restricted user access, and transparency into hiring, storage, and security measures, then the organization has most likely found a partner they can choose to keep their data safe in the cloud.
As Eran Feigenbaum, Director of Security for Google Apps, wrote in this blog post, the reason that the cloud can offer greater data security than storing data on site is that cloud storage providers are experts in the field of keeping data safe. Feigenbaum argues that entrusting your data to a third-party cloud storage provider is a lot like trusting your money to a bank.
In many ways, his comparison is perfectly apt: you can’t always see a tangible representation of the money you store in a bank, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust that it’s safe. Also, since banks are in the business of storing money securely for thousands of individuals and organizations, they have the expertise and resources needed to keep that money much safer than individuals could by storing their money in their own houses.
However, banks have built up the level of trust they currently enjoy over a period of many years. Since the idea of cloud computing is still new to some people, it’s easy to understand why many still feel that cloud data providers can’t be trusted. However, as more and more organizations continue to try cloud data storage, they will see that the motives of cloud service providers are pure in the vast majority of cases, and that the expertise and resources they put into ensuring data security are sufficient to make the cloud a secure place to store data. Perhaps once this happens, organizations will start to consider storing data in the cloud something as routine as storing money in the bank.
Caronet is a provider of managed cloud and cloud hosting services. Our cloud services are secure by design, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your data is completely safe. Contact us today to learn more.