6 Security risks of Cloud Computing
Modern businesses are flocking to cloud computing solutions in ever greater numbers. The ability to view data in real-time, easily share and collaborate on projects and improve remote working capabilities are just a few of the motivating factors for doing so.
However, while the cloud is one of the most effective ways to ensure your business stays current and competitive, there are security considerations to take on board.
What is Cloud Computing?
First of all, it’s important to get a basic understanding of what cloud computing exactly is. During our working day, many of us use programmes like Word or Excel. Where in the past these applications would be run on a computer or attached to a server in a building, they no longer need that physical home in order to be accessed.
Cloud computing allows those programmes to be hosted in a virtual location that can be accessed anywhere around the world. Whether you’re sending emails, updating your status on social media, or completing an online bank transfer – many of our daily tasks are now fulfilled using the cloud.
This flexibility helps teams that are now moving to models of hybrid or remote working as files and tasks can be accessed and completed from any location with internet access.
All businesses have a commitment to confidentiality and data protection, as we know. Files that are stored in the physical world (i.e on a computer server, memory stick, or printed on paper) can all be damaged, stolen, or lost. Whereas cloud storage neutralizes these risks by being stored virtually.
That said not all cloud computing solutions are created equally, and without proper security protocols and assistance from a specialist, you can easily find yourself in hot water. Let’s take a look at some of the potential pitfalls.
Dangers of Cloud Computing
1 – Data Control
While managing data physically is by no means risk-free, you do have the peace of mind that control of that data is in your hands. When you transfer data to the cloud, a third-party vendor is now in control. With this in mind, you must have absolute trust in your cloud partner. They should be able to demonstrate to you high levels of risk management and keep you informed of any changes to their policy.
2 – Cyber Threats
While cloud computing mostly isolates you from risks such as fire or flood damage and hardware failure, there are still virtual risks to consider. The internet is rife with crime and high-profile organisations remain big targets for criminal gangs looking to deploy malware, steal data and dismantle systems. Your vendor should have strong barriers against online threats and be able to demonstrate to you how they keep your data safe.
3 – Data Loss
As your data will be effective in the stewardship of a third party, you need to be confident that it is handled responsibly. To mitigate the risk of data loss, your information should be backed up regularly, so that if an accident happens you are still able to access everything you need.
4 – Customer Confidence
Naturally, after any serious disruption to service, or incident, there will be questions to answer from clients, customers, and other stakeholders in your business. It is important that you are able to show to them that you did your due diligence when you chose a cloud service provider and that steps were taken to mitigate risk. Choosing a provider based solely on cost or ease might not cut it when it comes to explaining your rationale.
5 – Credential Theft
If an attacker manages to gain access to your user credentials then they could potentially access all of your systems and data. They could then infect, delete or duplicate your information, or even lock you out of your systems. To prevent this from happening it is important to have differing levels of access controls in place for members of staff, instigate regular backups of data, and use tools like 2-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access.
6 – IT Complexity
Like with any new system, there can often be some level of strain during the adoption process. Staff members may find the new technology difficult to understand and operate, and this can lead to reduced productivity, improper usage, or a reluctance to utilize new systems. The key to unlocking the potential of the cloud among your workforce is to provide proper training and support from day one.
Unlock The Potential of the Cloud
For ultimate impact and peace of mind, your best option for cloud computing is to work with an independent IT provider.
Here at ECL, we offer private cloud services that are exclusively used by our clients. Using ECL-owned cutting edge servers, our private cloud is ideal for those who want to take advantage of the wide-ranging benefits of cloud computing but have reservations about who to trust with their data. Click here to learn more about our private cloud, or contact us today on 01268 575300.
ECL recognises that every client is different, and every client has a different IT support requirement. Whatever the size of your business, we can offer a support scenario to suit your needs.
Whether your business already uses Cloud services or you’re considering the Cloud as a possible way forward, talk to us first. We can provide anything from fully hosted IT infrastructures on our own ECL Private Cloud, to simple on-line backups. We can also give expert advice on Office 365 and other Cloud platforms.
How would losing access to your IT systems and data for days, or even weeks, affect your business? For many if not most companies this would be a nightmare scenario, with potentially very serious consequences.