Storage of data and applications remotely is a trend that’s gaining in popularity among a large number of companies. Technically known as cloud computing, it is fast becoming the preferred way of data and applications storage because it can help speed up operations significantly and also reduce IT costs in a big way. However, there are some who are questioning the safety aspect of cloud computing. That could be the reason why only around 10 per cent of the global data resides in the cloud today despite the availability of popular and reliable cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services.
What are the key reasons that prevent companies from trusting cloud computing platform with their data? Before we answer that, let’s find out the positives of cloud computing.
How The Cloud Can Save You Money
If you are planning to build your own centers, you will have to cough up lots of money to build and maintain them. You will also have to expend on IT resources to manage the tens and hundreds of software applications. Outsourcing data storage and applications management to a cloud service can save you money, time and effort. It will also save you the cost and hassle of having to hire a specialist IT team to manage the process in-house.
Other Benefits – Access To World Class Technology
By using the services of a cloud host, you can develop new products at a faster pace, potentially giving you a competitive edge.
However, the cloud is definitely not a risk-free technology according to many experts. Of these, the biggest risk is of handing over your data to a third-party with data centers at remote destinations. In the event of an unforeseen disaster, you run the risk of losing data as it can be lost, stolen or even corrupted beyond retrieval. You could also become complacent by assuming that the third party cloud host has all the systems in place to deal with data loss. However, the responsible thing to do would be to realize that the data is yours and critical to your business. You are responsible for its safety.
At the same time, one should also realize that cloud hosting providers have a reputation to protect and have to keep data safe to ensure that their business grows and prospers. They make sure your data remains stringently protected through measures like encryption. Encryption is the main element of cloud security. You are given the option of controlling the encryption keys and set terms for authorization to specific individuals for data access.
How Data Encryption Can Keep Data Protected
Data encryption is not a uni-dimensional process. It can be done in many ways. The process of encryption also makes a difference to the level of security offered by a cloud host. Some cloud hosts split data file into blocks and they are then encrypted separately. To ensure a higher level of security, these blocks are stored at different places. Those who try to access data illegally will get only random, meaningless blocks.
Sharing content is also done in a secure way so that access is limited to authorized persons only. Cloud hosts only send a link to the file instead of sending the entire set of data. End users can preview the content without having to download the data. This is a more secure way of sharing data.
Newer Ways Of Securing Data – Two Way Authentication
The use of two-factor authentication security process in which the passwords are supported by a randomly generated one-time code by a third different device is another sure-fire way of making data doubly secure.
This brings us to the question that every business using IT is asking. Is data really safe in the cloud?
Why Using Your Own Encryption Keys Is Recommended
The kind of service and features offered by your cloud provider and your own IT resources can combine to create a unique security structure, specific to your needs. But the structure and technology associated with cloud hosting creates an inherent threat. Any professional or administrator of a third-party cloud hosting service could gain access to your machines or data from within the system. Using your own encryption keys could be one way of preventing the problem.
The hybrid cloud approach is being used by many cloud hosting services to deal with security issues. In this type of cloud arrangement, the sensitive data is housed in a secure and private cloud while other types of data and applications are stored in a public cloud. This can work out to be a secure and cost-effective way of taking your data to the cloud.
The cloud hosting technology is still in its early days. There will be a definite and larger shift to the cloud from companies in the near future as path-breaking technologies that are in the pipeline sees the light of the day.