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Technology-savvy individuals insist that cloud computing is both useful and secure, but many others still worry over potential leaks, hacks and other misuse of information. And that's a valid fear - with all the negative attention that a corporate hack or data leak gets these days, to have one's business compromised can be a nightmare in more ways than one. Yet contrary to what most non-IT individuals might think, the cloud isn't a time bomb waiting to go off. Rather, it can be a useful tool in deployment, project assignment, data transfer, loss prevention analysis, and collaboration - supporting supply chain efficiency and overall business sustainability.
Since there are so many myths out there surrounding cloud computing, let’s examine three of the more persistent ones and sort out the truth from the hyperbole. Hopefully, you’ll feel a little more confident in the idea of utilizing cloud computing to your business’s advantage.
Myth #1: The cloud is an easy target for hackers.
For a lot of traditional business professionals, the only way to securely transport files is by putting them onto a portable USB or hard drive – however, that’s completely unrealistic for companies that outsource production or have a complex supply chain. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to visualize the idea of putting potentially sensitive information out there into a nebulous space where anyone can get to them. Add that to the constant news of the latest company data breach or hack, and it’s easy to not have a whole lot of confidence in cloud computing. Even its name makes it sound like something porous and easily invaded.
However, the cloud is actually far more secure than many think. That’s because it’s required to meet a certain level of security requirements and standards that place it above and beyond protection for a physical device or data center. “For businesses, the cloud is just as secure – and often substantially more so – than sprawling data centers,” explains a smart article at WorkIntelligent.ly. “While the cloud is not without security issues, the level of security maintained by cloud providers meets exceedingly strict standards.”
Although nothing can be 100 percent protected, a Huffington Post article notes that companies with their own private cloud have full control over the amount of security applied, and they often choose to put their most sensitive files into the cloud while leaving less important data to a public data center. If you’re a smaller company without the IT power to maintain a private cloud, all hope isn’t lost – outside providers are required to have solid security for the clouds they run in order to maintain good business. So even though there’s always the potential for security issues, the cloud is actually at no higher risk of being hacked than any other machine.
Myth #2: Other cloud tenants are a big internal threat.
Now that the idea of an external threat has been tempered, let’s look at another myth: The notion that other tenants in the cloud can access your data. Having access to a public cloud allows multiple people to share computing services, storage, network resources and processing. It’s the very definition of cloud computing’s main benefit. But with so many people having access to a public cloud service provider’s data center, there’s definitely a way that someone could sneak a look at the files that your business is storing there, right?
Not quite. The Huffington Post explains it like this: “To visualize multi-tenancy within the data center, picture tenants sharing the same floor of a building but sitting in separate and secure offices. Even though virtual machines share the same server, they're effectively isolated from the other VMs.” The article goes on to cite a case study in 2012 when researchers set up a scenario in which one cloud tenant attempted to spy on another, only to find that this level of “sophisticated attack” wouldn’t be likely to happen in the real world.
However, as noted in the first myth’s debunking, it’s recommended that you keep your truly sensitive information – such as financial data – on a fully secured private cloud, for your own peace of mind. (CSC says that cloud providers can add options that help prevent any type of potential risk from multitenant mischief, so if a public cloud is the only option for your business, then it’s worth evaluating extra protection.) Again, nothing is totally foolproof, but a few extra layers of security should help ease the worries.
Myth #3: You won’t know where your data is kept – and you can’t control it.
For global companies, or local companies with a global supply chain, cloud computing is an ideal solution to allow employees all over the world to access and share data. However, cloud service providers should always be able to tell you where your data’s traveling to and from, and how it’s protected. This is all information you ought to make sure you’re aware of; according to CSC, many countries have regulations to prevent individuals from storing or exporting personal data, so the last thing you want to find out is that your company is doing something illegal by transmitting data to or from a heavily regulated country.
“When data residency is a concern, particularly for personally identifiable information, private health information, and tax and financial information, the choice of cloud provider must in part be based on where the provider operates cloud data centers,” says the article at CSC. According to them, the best solution is to choose a global cloud service provider with accountability that will strictly adhere to data governance no matter what country you’re in. Also, the Huffington Post adds, global cloud service providers will be very transparent in letting users know where their data’s living, and how well it’s being protected. When your global company has a reliable cloud provider that ensures your data is adhering to local governance, it’s that much easier to begin using the cloud to integrate business all across the world – without worrying about unintentional illegality.
In recent years, the cloud has gotten an unfortunately bad reputation in the media as being unreliable and unsecure. Although cloud computing sounds like something that would put your company’s security at risk, there’s no more elevated danger in storing data in the cloud than you’d find in everyday computer use. In fact, there’s even more security involved using the cloud than most other storage options. Whether you’re putting your company’s cloud services in the hands of your own IT department for a private cloud or you’re relying on public cloud services from a reputed provider, it’s good to remember that sometimes you need to debunk a few myths in order to feel truly reassured.
Source: Halo BI
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