“The Cloud.” To many it’s a rather, shall we say, foggy term. All that it really means is using computing power from somewhere outside of your office. The benefits it offers can be very solid, though. Done right, it can give your data a higher level of safety than it would have on your office computers.
The first benefit is physical security. Reputable cloud services keep their machines in a secured location, restricting and logging who gets inside. Security cameras record who’s coming and going. When possible, the facilities are located away from cities, chemical plants, and other sources of risk. The buildings often look like ordinary, unbranded warehouses without windows in order not to attract attention, but they’re climate-controlled and have backup power.
The best ones augment this with geographic distribution. The service stores your information in more than one location, so that even if something bad happens to one data center, a copy is safe in another place.
A good cloud service provides high-quality data security as well. Just the fact of not being on the same computer that you use for so many purposes is a safety factor. The desktop machine which you use to check email, access the Web, and run many kinds of applications faces a lot of potential threats. Cloud computers running specialized services are open to only a few forms of access, so there aren’t many ways that malware can attack them.
Cloud platforms keep operating systems up to date and use the latest security software to guard against threats. Ongoing monitoring allows quick reporting of any unusual behavior, so that the staff can fix problems as quickly as possible. A 24-hour staff means there’s always someone available to deal with outages or malfunctions without being dragged out of bed.
A top-quality cloud provider uses the latest protocols for secure access. Not all secure connections are equal; older protocols have known vulnerabilities. Good cloud services use only the latest versions of the TLS protocol, which fixes weaknesses in earlier versions of SSL and TLS.
Even with the best of intentions, it’s hard to keep an equally high level of security in most offices. People come and go, the server is vulnerable to mishaps that affect the office, and most facilities can’t monitor their systems around the clock with on-site personnel. Food, drinks, and dirt can damage computers and disk drives. Keeping on top of security updates is a chore. People use computers in ways that open them to risks.
Desktop computers are highly vulnerable to Internet threats. Ransomware can wipe out all the files on a computer and any directly connected backup drives. Spyware can steal information from them. The more remote a computer is from unrestricted Internet access, the safer it is.
The level of cloud security depends on the type of service. Services which run only specified software for the customer, called Software as a Service (SaaS) or Data as a Service (DaaS), are the safest, since they have complete control over what runs on their computers. Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Desktop as a Service (another Daas) lets users run whatever they like, so there are more chances for risk. Even so, a cloud service’s infrastructure and monitoring provide a higher level of security than the usual desktop or local server room.
A cloud service offers all these benefits — but only if it’s a good one. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can claim to offer “cloud services,” but you have to find one that pays serious attention to physical security, data protection, and IT management. Nexxtep works with reputable cloud vendors to offer you services that will keep your data safe from all risks. Contact us to learn more about what we offer.