Cyber Security with Cloud Computing: Is it Necessary?
If there’s one concept in the technology sector that’s often misunderstood, it’s the cloud. Once a hot and trendy new technology, cloud computing has become a daily staple in almost everyone’s life. From smartphone storage for our photos to multi-site data distribution, the power of cloud computing has never been greater or more convenient.
If you’re considering a cloud computing solution for your business, be it storage or otherwise, how do you plan on securing it? If cloud functionality is gained from assumedly secure off-premises infrastructure, is on-premises security really that big of a deal?
The Benefits of Cloud Computing
As more businesses transition various services to the cloud, security is of utmost importance. With the constant threat of security exploits and cyberattacks, the truth is, cloud computing is just as vulnerable as on-premises solutions without proper setup and protective measures.
However, there are many benefits to cloud security that shouldn’t be ignored.
Ease of Administration
Choosing the right cloud platform can help reduce your company’s overall administration efforts since any sort of changes made to resource allocation won’t affect the end-user experience. This is because resource pooling, no matter how distributed, is pushed seamlessly back to your company’s network. This includes changes needed for data storage, performance, and total bandwidth.
One of the most economical facets of cloud computing is the reduction in investment for dedicated pieces of hardware. Since most if not all data is stored off-site, the need for entire on-site server rooms is eliminated. Likewise, it helps to spare the burden of hardware management for your IT team. This allows them to concentrate on the software side of your business without getting bogged down by hardware maintenance and troubleshooting. Plus, because cloud computing itself has many layers of security, IT team strain is reduced as the cloud computing system is proactively defending itself without the need for human input.
While nothing is guaranteed in life, cloud computing has some inherent abilities that on-premises computing doesn’t. Assuming the proper security measures are in place, users will have access to any needed data at any time no matter their device or location.
One of the best aspects of the cloud is the ability to have all data stored in one centrally-accessible point. This not only helps make it easy for your team to access data without having to bounce from multiple locations but also makes it easy to secure.
A growing concern amongst companies is shadow IT, which means the use of unauthorized SaaS applications by users on the network. With a centralized cloud platform, IT teams are better able to manage and eliminate unapproved uses like social media apps, music streaming services, and excel macros. Additionally, web filtering and nuisance traffic detection are easier and more focused. This in turn helps to streamline security efforts which ultimately result in faster and safer network performance.
The Security Risks of Cloud Computing
As you can see, there are quite a number of security benefits to cloud computing, not to mention the excellent quality of life features. There are, however, a number of major security risks with cloud computing that can compromise a business instantaneously without a dedicated recovery plan.
In 2019, Facebook went down for nearly 24 hours after a technical error shut down most of its apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. They were attempting a server configuration change that resulted in a chain reaction of effects that couldn’t be remedied before it caused near-catastrophic failures. In a world where most users rely on all of these services, one misstep can mean the difference between smooth sailing and a technical monsoon.
Increased Malware Exposure
Studies show that an astounding 90% of organizations are likely to experience a data breach when moving to cloud computing solutions. One successful malware infection can put a company’s entire dataset into the hands of cybercriminals.
In the healthcare world, any transmission of medical data must adhere to HIPPA. This ensures that all healthcare providers are taking the necessary steps to secure and protect the confidentiality of patient data. When we rely on a third party for storage, we’re taking a leap of faith in trusting that entity to maintain proper standards for data handling.
In the financial world, customer payment information is also required to adhere to PCI DSS, a set of guidelines used for processing, storing, and transmitting payment data securely. However, attackers can and will try to breach these security protocols for criminal gain.
Weighing the Risks
While there are many risks to cloud computing — especially against an ever-growing threat of criminals looking to access sensitive data — the pros still outweigh the cons in most cases. In a world that’s always connected, cloud computing continues to prevail as the most efficient way to store and distribute our data. A strong IT team, a thorough data recovery plan, and a standard set of best practices can help to mitigate these risks and pass on the enormous amount of benefits to your employees.