How Secure is the Cloud? Your Guide to Storing Data in the Cloud

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As far as we are concerned, storing data in the cloud makes more sense than using the increasingly outdated traditional storage methods. Here’s why:

Where the cloud is headed

The cloud is booming like few other technologies ever have. Many businesses and individuals are already experiencing huge benefits from adopting the public cloud and it is becoming more and more difficult to operate effectively without doing so.

Fortunately, storage capacity is skyrocketing, and Cisco has estimated that by the end of 2018 the public cloud will have reached 1.1 zettabytes in size. This is double the capacity that was available in 2017. Data storage is set to become cheaper and more easily available as the scope and size of the cloud continues to expand.

The cloud is secure

As research suggests, cloud in itself is inherently secure, because data stored in it is nearly always encrypted. However, where the keys to that encryption are held differs from service to service, and so it is worth checking this out when you are considering which cloud storage service to choose. You can also take a few basic steps to enhance your data’s security (more on that below).

It’s not the cloud that is insecure; it’s the user

As per a recent Gartner study, at least 95% of cloud security failures are the customer’s fault. When the cloud is used properly, it is a highly secure environment. When an organization’s policies and procedures fail to adequately keep control of the technology, then security breaches will happen. But this is not the fault of the cloud: it’s down to us users and our propensity for human error.

It’s all in the strategy

So, if it’s the human user that is the risk when it comes to cloud security, then you need to develop a strategy for managing access and control. CIOs are increasingly coming to terms with the fact that the physical location of your data is way less important than how it is accessed. And this goes for traditional computing and cloud-based storage. Indeed, as cloud experts recently argued, ‘those who build cloud-based platforms for enterprises typically focus more on security and governance than those who build systems that will exist inside firewalls’. The cloud is plenty safe, as long as you and your organization put strategies in place to handle it properly.

Your senior leadership team needs to be fully and completely on board when it comes to the cloud, and they need to feed this into a company-wide strategy that controls access to, and the security of, the cloud. The strategy should include advice and guidance on what data can be placed into the cloud, how, why, and under what conditions.

How to boost cloud security yourself

Still not convinced the cloud is quite secure enough for you? There are a few steps you can take to enhance the protection afforded to you by the cloud:

  • Encrypt it yourself. Just before you upload your data to the cloud, use your own encryption software to encrypt it yourself. You can then upload the file to the cloud, knowing you’ve given it a little extra layer of security. When you need to go back and access the file, you just log in to the cloud service you’re using, download the file and decrypt it.
  • Use authenticated encryption. This means that you can store extra metadata, which allows you to see if and when the file has been altered in any way. This makes the data more secure, because only using encryption prior to upload doesn’t prevent the cloud company from modifying your files.
  • If this conversation is beyond your comprehension of technology, then you need to search for a cloud storage provider with open-source software. As with any technology, it pays to do your research.

Cloud experts say that the cloud is secure and it is time to believe them. Storing data in the cloud is nothing to fear; without the complacency of a firewall, many cloud services have been developed with high levels of security in mind. The cloud is here to stay, and we are excited to witness more and more enterprise-wide cloud adoption.

Market Research Team, RapidValue

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