Data security is a common concern when businesses are considering a partial or full move into Cloud computing. Even though the risks may actually be minimal, the perception can often be all that matters, especially to clients who may not like the idea for instance of their details being stored off-site by a 3rd party.
In fact for those in the know, Cloud computing carries multiple benefits for the security-conscious business. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Companies hire software applications from their Cloud provider for an agreed rate. Commonly, during that piece of software’s lifetime it will have to be regularly updated, or patched, as security flaws become noticed only after its release. If not picked up on and fixed promptly, these holes can be taken advantage of by various criminal elements. Managing this constantly can be a drain on inhouse IT resources, but a Cloud provider, with a need to always appear secure in order to attract business, will have a team dedicated to identifying and patching holes quickly. Any company that has been burned by this kind of situation in the past, or disturbed by the frequent reports of confidential customer information being stolen and distributed online, will see the obvious attraction here.
Keeping vital company data and processes off-site, in more secure locations, is a smart idea. It means the risk of something happening to in-house servers - a carelessly dropped cup of coffee, a fire, or a hacking attempt, is minimised. Some providers will even back-up data into multiple locations for additional security. This doubling-down of security means that should the worst happen and the in-house servers are rendered inoperable for a time, or destroyed, business functionality will remain unaffected.
With many SMBs, it’s common for senior management to take a more emotional approach to data and the need to keep it in-house (“with people we can trust”). In fact today most security risks come from within an organisation rather than externally. Better then to consider a Cloud provider than can afford to recruit data security professionals instead of relying on often harried and under-skilled in-house IT teams whose specialisms may lie elsewhere, and may miss less-obvious threats.