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5 cloud security myths: Get past them to lift your organization's game

Ashley Leonard President & CEO, Verismic Software

User privacy and data security are major concerns across any IT infrastructure. A recent poll shows that only 38 percent of global organizations say they are prepared to handle a sophisticated cyberattack. Still, there is a reluctance among many organizations to adopt cloud computing systems due to fear that the system would be incapable of handling major security threats.

Many businesses are just more comfortable internally managing IT systems with on-premises solutions. However, reluctance to use cloud computing systems shouldn’t be based on misconceptions. There are tremendous benefits businesses enjoy when transitioning to cloud-based solutions, and it’s important to dispel some particularly erroneous cloud computing myths.

1. Data is less secure when stored in the cloud

Security is often listed as the primary concern for the IT departments of companies of all sizes. Data breaches and information hacks continue to rise, and some companies believe that data is more secure if it’s on premisesCompanies choosing this option must of course manually deliver each patch and security update to their internal networks. This also leaves them with the task of monitoring servers to ensure that unauthorized access isn’t gained. 

One of the primary benefits that cloud computing services provide is that they do the patching and security monitoring for you. Transferring data storage to the cloud better secures company data by reducing stress on internal IT departments. In addition, there are multiple levels of monitoring of the cloud data, with the cloud application provider and data host, such as Microsoft or Azure (which have more robust security measures in place than a typical IT department)each owning a part of the data security responsibility.

This also doesn’t account for potential natural disasters that may strike a company, such as earthquakes, fires, or floods. If a company’s data center is hit by any of these natural disasters, it could be an even greater disaster for the company. If the company has taken the proper measures to create backups of the data at an offsite location, then it is closely approaching the same ideas used for the cloud. But the cloud demonstrates a major advantage over on-premises solutions, with georeplicated data centers. So if a disaster does strike a geographic region, the company data is safe because it’s replicated across many geographically unique sites.

Lastly, cloud security frequently firewalls internal and external networks. Since the target location of most breaches is internal due to users unintentionally downloading malware through unlicensed software, creating a firewall that insulates the internal network and prevents the external network from becoming compromised adds additional layers of security. The same works in reverse. If it is an external threat, the firewall will prevent internal networks from becoming compromised too. It’s no wonder that 69 percent of organizations are relying on cloud-based cybersecurity to reduce risk and create better security.

2. Data can’t be controlled once it’s in the cloud

Due to compliance, regulatory, and security issues, there is justifiable concern regarding the geographical storage location of data once it is in the cloud. This is particularly important for organizations that work extensively with confidential records that cannot be stored outside of the country. Organizations in the healthcare field as well as businesses that deal with financial information must meet industry compliance, regulatory, and security standards. 

European security standards also require that data be stored within Europe to meet compliance. For U.S. businesses that wish to expand overseas, this would require them to build a costly on-premises data center in Europe, or they could partner with one of the several cloud providers that readily provide information on data storage location and can work to meet compliance standards. Additionally, there is the option of the private cloud, which adds control over the network environment while benefiting from the features cloud computing provides. 

3. BYOD and cloud computing are fads

Bring your own device (BYOD) is used by many companies that appreciate its ease of use, since devices aren’t required to be tethered to a network infrastructure when using this model. Companies that adopt the BYOD method of operating are typically major proponents of cloud computing. Even though BYOD as a strategy will likely evolve into another model for business operations, cloud computing has definitely proved itself as far more than a fad. Many of the top businesses in the world are already taking advantage of cloud computing technologies while simultaneously deploying robust security measures to keep information safe. 

4. Anyone has access to your data in the cloud

Many people believe that the cloud is more susceptible to threats, given that it’s maintained by an outside provider that manages data storage for other users. Although public clouds permit sharing of network space by different users, this does not give anyone else access to your data. Data is encrypted in transit for cloud networks, which makes deciphering any potential breach nearly impossible. Internal networks don’t usually deploy encryption, making them more susceptible if a breach does occur for the on-premises center. Data in the cloud operates like a highway: The road is shared among many vehicles, but no one is entering your car because it’s locked (encrypted) and traveling down the highway.  

5. Cloud computing is too new to trust

The cloud has existed a lot longer than many people realize. The concept of the cloud began in the 1950s. The first mainframes were so expensive that major corporations and universities set up terminals and shared the mainframe. As the internet became widely accessible in the '90s, cloud computing started to really take shape along today's lines. Purchasing and deploying software over the Internet started in the late '90s, so there’s over 20 years of history where businesses used cloud computing technologies to better their businesses.

In addition to how much security cloud computing can lend to your organization, there are even more positive aspects of the cloud. Lowered expenses when it comes to operating and maintaining cloud software as opposed to traditional IT software is just one additional bonus. Once you get past the myths about the cloud that do nothing more than limit the perception of cloud computing’s ability, you get a clearer view on how using the cloud can actually improve the way your organization functions. 

Image credit: Flickr

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