Cloud Computing Safety and Security – Is it Really Safe to Use?

For many businesses, one of the primary concerns is the safety and security of data. There have been too many incidents in the past where seemingly secure databases were broken into by cyber-criminals and created havoc on the files, destroying, corrupting, or worse, using the information gained to perpetrate more crimes. This is why companies that offer cloud computing as a service put safety and security of data as their foremost concern, assuring prospective subscribers that though a hacker is born every minute, they have the best team of experts developing protection solutions every second.

There are some companies, however, that cannot be assuaged by this assurance of cloud computing providers. These companies maintain that since they would be at the mercy of the providers when it comes down to data security, disaster planning and recovery, backup, accessibility, encryption, authentication, and a host of other critical solutions that a company need to survive.

Another concern raised by these companies is the virtual impossibility of subscribers to examine and verify the security protection that these providers have put in place. This concern is not helped by the fact that most of these cloud computing provider’s data centers are spread throughout the globe and it would be very difficult for the subscriber to personally inspect these facilities.

Most of the companies that raised these concerns were those that are involved in online transactions. Studies have shown that this is the area where most incidents of infiltration attempts happen. This is because there is a wealth of data that can be stolen and then used by the cyber-criminals to gain financial rewards.

Although a lot of companies would like to shift to this new paradigm of modern computing, serious concerns on safety and security seem to hold them back from riding the tide of cloud computing. Perhaps, unless these cloud computing providers put well defined security layers on their databases, companies would continue to be worried about their databases.

On one end, however, cloud computing service providers have maintained that the security layers around their databases is so stringent that hackers would find it difficult to penetrate even just the first tier. In fact, cloud computing providers have banded themselves to conduct research and development for the purpose of discovering more techniques that may be utilized by hackers to penetrate the system, then applying the solutions necessary so that the same method could never be used again.

With the current developments and progress that cloud computing providers are making, it can be said that the security concerns raised are being addressed so that the service would be safe and secure to use. One thing is unquestionably sure. cloud computing technology will be the wave of the future and will be changing how people use the information highway for decades to come.

Cloud Computing, Your Questions Answered

Q1. What is Cloud Computing? (Slightly obvious but one which we should really start with)

A. Cloud Computing is, in basic terms, computing over the internet. It allows you to access your e-mail, documents, software, even your desktop on line, so it’s like having a virtual computer. This means you can work from anywhere – your office, your home, a hotel, a cafe, basically anywhere that has an internet connection.

Q2. Is it safe?

A. On the whole, yes. Although, you need to ask your Cloud provider about their security measures of course. Hackers have found breaking into the Cloud extremely difficult and the security is only getting tighter. It also makes your data safe from non-virtual theft! If anyone was to break into your office and steal your computer, they wouldn’t actually be able to access your data in the Cloud.

Q3. What if my internet connection get’s lost?

A. It’s worth looking into getting a back-up connection just in case – although, as we’ve covered, you can access it anywhere with an internet connection. Therefore, if your internet does go down, you could always pop to a coffee shop or a home office or make a cuppa whilst you re-boot.

Q4. Will it save me money?

A. Not necessarily. It depends on how many users you’ll have. The great thing about it is that it’s entirely scalable – so you only pay for what you need, and as you grow, so can your Cloud. Saving money is never a guarantee, though it does save energy, in fact it equates to approximately £500 electricity savings per year for every 10 users.

Q5. Is it here for good?

A. Afraid so Yes! The Cloud has already been around for years and the recent coverage shows that interest is growing. According to the Cloud Industry Forum, 48% of businesses in the UK are already using Cloud Computing of some capacity in their organisation and 85% of those already using it plan to adopt even more within the next 12 months.

Q6. How do I know if it’s for my business?

A. Cloud Computing can be used by just about any business of any size in any industry. You might be a start-up looking for secure back-up or an employer who wants easier sharing and more flexible working for your staff; either way the Cloud has various benefits and is without doubt, the future of technology.

Cloud Computing – Things to Consider Before Switching

The previous year saw the incredible popularity of buzzwords like SaaS (software as a service), Cloud Computing and utility computing. Recent surveys show growth of cloud computing usage from around 31% to 46%. But is it really safe to shift from traditional computing to cloud computing? Let us find out.

Safety and security of data is the biggest concern for any company. History has it that even the most secure databases were hacked by cyber criminals and this is one of the reasons that companies providing cloud computing services put safety and security of data as their primary concern. But there are a few industry-standard security topics to consider before outsourcing data and capabilities to cloud servers. Some of them are:

Privileged user access: If you choose to outsource computing data to cloud servers, we are bypassing the physical, logical and personnel controls over it. All the data stored outside your infrastructure can be accessed by administrators who have access to cloud servers. This can be a threat as administrators hired by another organization have full control over your data and they can manipulate at will.

Regulatory Compliance: The security and integrity of data of clients lie in their own hands, even in the presence of service providers. Security certifications as well as external audits have to be dealt by most service providers. Any service provider who refuses to undergo these audits is only signaling customers to use them for most trivial functions only.

Location of Data: when your data is stored in cloud you might not be aware of the location of your own data. Customers run the risk of being governed by country laws pertaining to the data location.

Although cloud computing is a relatively new technology and there are numerous security issues which need to be taken care of, they can be minimized if you follow the tips given below:

1) 1) Cloud service providers should be strict about hiring administrators, and the type of data they handle. Only privileged administrators should be given access to control-sensitive data. Service provider must be able to answer questions like “Who all will have access to the data?”, “How will you monitor people accessing your data?” or “How does one control access to their own Cloud data?”.

2) 2) Data in the cloud rests in a shared environment along with data from other users. Encryption is one of the methods to secure data in shared environment. But only tested and reliable encryption algorithms should be implemented.

3) 3) Although cloud computing has a distributed database implementation, disasters do happen. Cloud service providers must provide you with a recovery solution for data backup.