How does cloud security measure up?

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In the days before “cloud”, most businesses would have their servers, data and computers all local and managed through a consultant or internal IT teams.

Today with the cloud, often the business owners cannot see, touch or ‘feel’ their computer data, hence its natural to be more cautious about security when you feel that you don’t have it in your own possession.

Which brings us to cloud security. How does it compare to the traditional methods of storing everything in a server you control in your office?

Well lets begin by identifying the challenges most businesses face when their servers and data remain within their office:

  1. Flood, fire & theft risks – all the physical aspects of data loss must be managed by the business themselves when your server is onsite in your office. During the Brisbane floods of 2011, we saw many businesses who were not using the cloud or related data centre hosting, suffer from downtime and data loss.
  2. Internet firewall security – most businesses do not realise that the only line of defence between a hacker entering their system is their modem router device, with its inbuilt firewall, which is often never updated. This is in comparison to a proper cloud environment, which has multiple levels of firewalls across the data centres, constant around-the-cloud monitoring, plus the defence mechanisms are kept up to date with new firewall rules updated as such become available.
  3. Backups and Disaster Recovery – by leveraging the cloud smarts, its often much quicker, cheaper and easier to take an entire business ‘snapshot’ of the data. This means in the event of a security breach, it is often possible to restore quickly to a recent snapshot to mitigate downtime and data loss.
  4. External device data control – items such as USB drives, CD’s, etc, can easily be used to copy data and export information away from your office when you have servers onsite. Whereas with cloud, it is possible to disable USB access and due to the physical limitations of not being able to physically access the server (unless a client of course asks for such), the risk of rogue employees ‘stealing data’ is heavily mitigated.