Cloud computing is altering the way the business world operates forever and as most will agree for the better. Companies are racing to become involved in this innovative, highly beneficial and cost effective business environment. But before we jump into the sky; many are asking the question how safe really is cloud computing and are the safely concerns around cloud all just hype?
Scrutiny of cloud computing security is not surprising in light of various privacy issues and publicised cloud outages that occurred in its early days; Amazon's EC2 cloud-based platform crashed and Sony's PlayStation Network got hacked and was offline for almost of six weeks. These headline grabbing cloud stories have created a sense of uncertainty around Cloud and have also raised concerns on cloud safety, particularly for savvy business owners. If big players like these cannot ensure the safety of their own users' data what chance is there for the smaller bodies who offer cloud?
Yes, cloud computing based systems are fallible -but in the same way that any computing system is regardless of where it is based. Fears surrounding IT security could be related to the perception of dangers of flying; assuming that all airplanes are dangerous because there have been rare, sporadic crashes in the past! Cloud computing outages such as Amazon's incident or the Sony security failure, are the stories that we hear about. But what about the thousands of various technology and service delivery failures that occur on a daily basis in companies of all sizes that go undocumented?
Many IT experts argue that cloud computing can actually be safer than "regular" mainframe or server-based computing especially for smaller organisations that do not have the resources to dedicate to maintaining security technology and employing IT specialist staff. The same safeguards and roadblocks will apply to your enterprise business applications as would to any website or online portals that you visit for personal use: encrypted passwords, layers of security packets and authentication are all required before you can access information that may be sensitive, personal or enterprise-specific.
If you are engaging in cloud-based activities, it is true that you are placing a high level of trust with your cloud provider in terms of keeping your information safe and private and it is evident that security is a topic of paramount importance which will continue to grow. However, as cloud computing evolves and more providers come on board safety measures will continue to be developed and heightened. After all it appears that an element of fear and uncertainty generally tends to precede the early adoption phase of all new technologies. For example when email was first introduced the fear was that it could easily be hacked and in the early stages of eCommerce, the assumption was that it was dangerous to enter personal or account details online, but now we actively send information via email and purchase goods, flights and even cars online entering our precious credit card details without even blinking! Nonetheless, we consistently engage in these activities with reputable, secure vendors, thus it is also wise to take the same approach when moving to the cloud, choose your cloud provider wisely.
Ask the right questions, be sure that you know where you data will be held and be certain of their security systems and upgrades. It is important that you select a provider who not only understands the value of your data, but one who has dedicated and specialist technical resources to keep everything secure. Therefore, be certain to choose a reliable, experienced provider who has taken all safety measures and precautions into account and your business will reap the benefits of the wonderful world of cloud.
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