Debunking cloud myths: Is your data less secure in the cloud?

February 6th, 2019
Debunking cloud myths: Is your data less secure in the cloud?

Data security is the biggest concern business owners have about the cloud. It’s easy to see why, considering that some of the most controversial cyberattacks within the last decade involved cloud providers like Dropbox. But the cloud is safer than some people believe.

While threats do exist, cloud solutions undergo constant improvements and utilize state-of-the-art technologies to protect data. In fact, many of the claims surrounding the cloud’s weak security are more myth than reality.

Myth #1: The cloud lacks strong security measures

People believe the cloud is unsafe because it’s not as heavily fortified as company-owned systems, but this cannot be farther from the truth. Cloud providers such as Forum Info-Tech protect customer data with multiple layers of security that include intrusion prevention systems, firewalls, access monitoring, anti-malware programs, and military-grade encryption.

What’s more, cloud servers are kept in highly secure facilities with reinforced concrete walls, surveillance systems, and biometric authentication, preventing would-be cybercriminals from gaining physical access to company data.

Company-owned data centers, however, are not protected so thoroughly. Businesses running on a tight budget usually can’t invest in anything more than basic antivirus software, leaving them more vulnerable to modern-day attacks. Also, unlike cloud providers, most companies don’t set aside anywhere near enough time to look for system vulnerabilities and fix them, which is why it’s better to store data in a highly secure cloud environment managed by a team of IT professionals.

Myth #2: Data stored in the cloud can be accessed by anyone

Another misconception business owners have about the cloud is that because it shares computing, networking, and storage hardware with other cloud customers, their data can be easily accessed by others using the same service. This is especially worrying if they’re sharing the same cloud space as business competitors.

However, the feasibility of pulling off such attacks is practically nonexistent. Cloud solutions use a piece of software called a “hypervisor” that essentially consolidates a clients’ computing resources (e.g., processing power, memory, storage) into a virtual machine (VM) that’s segregated from others in the cloud. These VMs cannot interact with one another, making it extremely difficult for other cloud customers to access or tamper with your data.

Certain cloud providers also offer dedicated computing and networking options to further mitigate the risks of unauthorized data access.

Myth #3: The cloud is vulnerable to network attacks

The truth is the cloud is well-protected against network-based threats. In addition to strong security measures, cloud services providers install patches proactively to defend against the latest threats and offer 24/7 security monitoring to detect anomalies that could indicate a cyberattack. By contrast, companies that manage their own data centers may not have the bandwidth or expertise to reduce the chances of denial-of-service or other network-based attacks.

Myth #4: Cloud providers lack transparency

Lack of transparency is a big reason business owners are wary of the cloud. Some are afraid that they can’t monitor a provider’s security practices or won’t have any way of knowing if technicians are misusing their data. But these cases are extremely rare, and there’s nothing to worry about when working with a top-notch provider.

Typically Amazon Web Services only disclose the region where their data centers exist vs. giving their precise locations. After all, publicly disclosing such information gives would-be cybercriminals an advantage.

In general, leading providers offer service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee a certain level of security and uptime. For example, Forum Info-Tech SLAs specify security and encryption practices for data privacy, how often systems are monitored and patched, who has access to company data, response and resolution times, and data backup policies. They also provide reports on how data is being handled and define compensation for users if the minimum level of service isn’t met.

Keep in mind that some providers may be less transparent about their services than others. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly vet potential cloud service providers and negotiate an SLA that aligns with your company’s goals and security requirements.

If your business in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles, or Corona is looking for high-quality and super secure cloud services, why not start with Forum Info-Tech? We offer a wide range of cloud services that protect your data and future-proof your business. Contact us today to learn more about our cloud offerings.