It’s probably worthwhile kicking this off with a question, “what is cloud exactly”? Well the first thing to understand is that the cloud is not an animate or physical thing. The cloud quite simply is a network of servers (a server is a computer or computer program which manages access to a central resource or service in a network).
The cloud then is a network of servers and each server has a different function. For example Adobe has moved its creative service offerings to the cloud. You can no longer buy their creative suite (Photoshop, Indesign etc) in a box set. Instead you pay a monthly subscription fee to access each individual service. Hence, why the product is now called the “Adobe Creative Cloud”.
Other servers in the network are responsible for storing data, for example when you take a selfie on your smartphone, the picture is stored on your devices internal memory drive. However, when you upload the pic to Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.
So, anytime you store information without using up your devices internal data, you’re storing it on the cloud!
The background to Cloud goes back to the 1950’s. In those days a mainframe (read computer) was so big physically it took up massive amounts of space and cost an inordinate amount of money. To counter this organizations developed “time sharing” systems which allowed multiple users to access data and CPU time.
So that’s a brief description and background to cloud…let’s move on then to the controversial subject of cloud security. Data in general is moving to the cloud at a record pace, with cloud based solutions being increasingly in demand globally..
Security solutions include everything from specific data storage to entire business solutions.
Cloud based internet security is an outsourced solution for storing data safely. Instead then of storing data onto on premise hard drives, users store data safely on internet connected servers. Data storage centers manage these servers, keeping data safe and secure.
Enterprises and organizations in general turn to cloud storage solution vendors to solve a variety of challenges. Small businesses use cloud to cut costs (no expensive hardware and maintenance costs) and IT specialists turn to cloud as the best way to store sensitive data.
So, you’ve got all your data and business processes stored on the cloud…but now keeping you awake at nights is likely to be the safety and security of your business. Help and reassurance is at hand and typically all your files stored on secure cloud servers will benefit from an enhanced level of specialist security.
The engagement with best in class cloud infrastructure security specialists enables and facilitates an ideal balance between access and security.
What sort of interventions can you reasonably expect a cloud security management vendor to provide…well, starting off is the most common security credential most users are familiar with is the password. Not enough I’m afraid and there are other protocols than need to be in place
- Advanced Firewalls: simple ones, whilst being important only examine the source and destination data, advanced derivatives verify the actual content integrity.
- Intrusion Detection: successful cloud security systems rely on identifying attempted break ins to the system. Multiple levels of detection ensure security vendors can stop intruders attempting to break past the networks initial defences.
- Event Logging: this helps security analysts to understand potential threats. Also assisting with predicting and preventing security breaches.
- Internal Firewalls: limiting secure cloud access through internal Firewalls boosts initial security. This ensures that even a compromised account can not provide full access
- Encryption: this keeps data safe from unauthorized users if an encrypted file is “stolen”, access to it is denied without a secret key. The data is meaningless to whoever doesn’t possess the key
- Physical Security: Cloud data centers are highly secure with 24/7 monitoring, fingerprint locks, facial recognition biometrics and armed guards.
To sum up then, cloud storage is generally considered to be better, more cost efficient and more flexible than the more traditional on premise infrastructure. It does however need qualified maintenance and management expertise. These skills and key elements will form part of your vendors service agreement.
Interrogate extensively your service providers security protocols and gain solace and comfort from knowing that your company’s sensitive data is in safe hands….and also allowing you a decent night’s sleep!!
Talk to us at Activate Telecoms, we take cloud implementation and security very seriously and would welcome the opportunity to chat with you about our world class solutions.