Despite its recent popularity, the cloud is often misunderstood. In fact, to a lot of people, storing information in the cloud means that files are floating around in an empty space, free for hackers and other nosy people to grab. This misconception prevents many businesses from taking advantage of the wide range of capabilities the cloud has to offer. It’s time to “bust the myth” that the cloud is somehow less secure than traditional on-site storage.
Understanding the cloud
Whether you’re a solopreneur or the CEO of a large company, it’s important to understand how the cloud works. It’s less complicated than it sounds — the cloud simply refers to a collection of servers on which clients’ information is stored. When you pay to store your files in the cloud, you’re essentially leasing space on another company’s servers. These servers are protected by a variety of security measures and are sometimes split across different geographical areas, in case of a physical breach or natural disaster.
One great example of the cloud is Google Drive. Google Drive allows you to access your photos, documents, spreadsheets and other files from any device in any location. This is because your files are stored on Google’s servers, not your own. Google’s servers don’t just exist in one spot, either; they’re located all over the world, so if one goes down, the rest are still able to keep your data safe.
The security standards for cloud storage providers are far tougher than those you’d employ at your own business. Your servers may be protected with an anti-virus software or firewall, a password or fingerprint identification system, and perhaps a lock on the door. Maybe you periodically backup your data on another hard drive. You might even choose to receive notifications on your phone when someone attempts to access files they shouldn’t. While these are great steps to take to secure your business’s data, they’re minute in comparison to the measures cloud storage providers put in place.
Cloud storage providers like Insight run and protect a number of servers, which work together to store clients’ data and keep it safe. Think of it like backing up your files on several hard drives, each maintained and protected like the next. If one of the provider’s servers goes down, you won’t notice, because several others possess the same information. Losing data to a computer crash is a nonissue.
As previously mentioned, some cloud storage providers keep their servers in multiple locations. This makes it far more difficult to complete a physical breach against the stored data, and in the case of a natural disaster, a damaged facility doesn’t have to mean lost data. These providers rarely disclose where their servers are located to prevent physical attacks. And even if they do disclose that information, their servers are often protected by security personnel, limited-access doors and other tangible security measures.
IT professionals love the cloud
So what do IT experts think about cloud storage? Most of them love it. According to a Statista study from 2015, 89 percent of IT professionals from medium to large enterprises that used full-service cloud programs found the cloud to be at least as secure as on-site storage. About 26 percent found the cloud to be “much more secure” than its traditional counterpart. And that was two years ago — think of how far cloud security measures have come since then!
Of course, IT experts recommend doing your own part to keep your data secure, even when it’s considered safe in the cloud. For example, restrict data access to only the partners and employees who need it, so you can maintain control over who accesses what, and when. And, set policies in place to immediately remove privileges when a partner or employee leaves the company. Common sense and a little extra effort go a long way.
The cloud is a safe place
As Insight puts it on their blog, “Professional cloud vendors know they can only survive if they’re downright paranoid about security.” Cloud providers depend on being trusted with their clients’ data, so they put a significant amount of resources into keeping files safe. Knowing this, do you still doubt the cloud’s security? If you’ve stored data in the cloud before, how safe did you think that data was? Share your thoughts in the comments below.