Cloud computing has created a fundamental shift in computer technology. Through the use of a sophisticated infrastructure, it is possible to offer a wide number of users, at a reasonable subscription cost, access to the apps and storage capacity of high-powered servers. Moreover, this storage can be as high as a terabyte and the software is usually the best in its class.
Still, although cloud computing has the power to allow a business to operate with the robust functionality of the largest business in their niche when it comes to the use of computer technology, many businesses are reluctant to migrate to the cloud. Their reason for refusing to do so is usually based on a popular misconception that the cloud is not secure because it stores massive amounts of data. This, they believe, makes it a target for greedy hackers.
Ironically, these same businesses choose to rely on their own costly and insecure computer systems and networks to keep their applications and data safe. They believe their on-premise solution is more secure because they can decide what protective measures to use. In many ways, this idea of superior security is an illusion. Consider, for example, that many of their servers are location-based, which means that they are vulnerable to any types of disasters, from one as mild as a burst water pipe in the building to one as devastating as a hurricane.
It’s an expensive illusion to keep because by not taking advantage of the power of cloud computing, many businesses are choosing to function at a much lower level of operational cost-effectiveness and production efficiency. By not taking full advantage of the services available they are missing out on a wide range of services. A company like TierPoint, a national information technology and data center, offers clients many leading edge services, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and access to cutting-edge disaster recovery and backup services. In fact, in 2017, it was recognized in Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant award for the exceptional quality of its disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
Is Cloud Computing Safe?
We live in a world where no computer system is safe. Even if a system has excellent firewalls and cutting-edge software protection, these can be circumvented by insiders who understand how the security system works. Yes, there have been hacking attacks on cloud computers, but the same vulnerabilities can be said for on-premise computer systems, and even the Pentagon has been embarrassed by hacking attacks.
Still, despite this reality, cloud computing companies do the best they can with existing technological knowledge to keep their systems as safe as possible. They spend millions on developing security systems and hire the best of the best security analysts because their multi-million dollar businesses depend on their securing their customer’s data. By comparison, on-premise systems don’t always have the budget to hire the best security analysts nor to implement the latest security technology.
4 Different Control Elements
Cloud computing security measures include a broad range of technologies and policies based on the best security practices. Defensive measures use a variety of controls, specifically deterrent, preventive, detective, and corrective controls. Think of these as layers of defense. When one layer goes down, there is another protective measure behind it.
Here is a quick review of how these controls work:
- Deterrent controls function like the warning signs on a property fence. They inform potential hackers of the adverse legal consequences that they will face if they continue with their attack.
- Preventive controls take practical steps to reduce negative incidents. Unauthorized users are discouraged by the strong authentication measures used to protect legitimate users. By positively identifying authorized cloud users, vulnerabilities are greatly reduced.
- Detective controls are used in the event of an attack. Once the nature of an attack is identified, the detection is followed by the best, most appropriate reaction to counter it.
- Corrective controls are used should the detective controls fail to successfully ward off the attack. Corrective controls snap into place to minimize the damage. If a system is compromised, for example, one corrective measure might be to restore system backups.
Clearly, the notion that cloud computing is inherently far less secure than traditional technology is merely biased conjecture. This misconception, or myth, is based on the simplistic logic that it feels insecure to trust your data to a third-party. Still, stashing your data on servers and systems that hire the best security analysts and use the best security systems to ensure the highest standards of safety and data protection may be more secure than insisting that one’s own less well-funded on-premise system has no vulnerabilities. Simply having more control of data by keeping it in-house does not mean more security.