The use of cloud-based storage has increased hugely for both business and personal use over the past few years and 2017 is set to see this usage growing even further. As a result, cloud security must also improve. While improvements in any area of cybersecurity are always needed through continuous assessment and feedback, cloud security is already widely accepted as one of the most robust and reliable forms of IT security available today. Here we examine the current advantages of cloud security and the areas where improvements are set to be made this year and beyond.
The Advantages of Cloud Security
The advantages of cloud storage are numerous and, by now, very familiar: flexibility; huge storage space; the ability to work from wherever, whenever; and no need to send sensitive information via email or use unreliable storage devices. There has, however, been a question mark over the security of the cloud, and the ability of cloud providers to really protect private data. Security has been seen as the cloud’s Achilles’ heel.
In fact, when considering the number of data security breaches throughout 2016, cloud-based breaches have been far outnumbered by those not protected in the cloud environment. Most data security breaches happen as a result of human error, rather than a lack of security implementations within the cloud. In 2017 then, could it be time to start putting more trust in cloud security?
We can look at cloud-based security as something of a central security system, negating the need for numerous updates and security systems. A cloud-based business network which has numerous portable devices linking in at any given time relies on security software at both network and endpoint levels. With cloud-based security, the network and all devices connected to it are protected centrally. For example, 2017 will see improvements to Microsoft cloud, with Outlook in iOS and Android being fully powered by the cloud, and Advanced Threat Protection intelligence being shared throughout the system.
The advantages of this are clear: fewer security systems mean fewer required software updates, and in the case of an anomaly, fewer systems to be checked. All security information will be centrally stored, allowing for improved correlation of events and traffic analysis.
Centralisation also means that when new legislation comes into play with regards to cyber security, the cloud is easily updated and improved. Disaster Recovery Plans, for example, can be much more easily implemented if you do not already have one in place. Obviously, it is important when choosing your cloud provider to check out their policies with regards to any aspect of their security system, including DRPs.
Utilising the cloud for security and storage means you don’t need to invest in any dedicated equipment – all of this is already taken care of for you. The lack of dedicated equipment also has a reduced environmental impact, using less energy than powering various machines and hardware. The centralisation of your security systems and resulting reduction in update requirements is another way in which the cloud can reduce costs for your business – there are fewer software systems to update and no replacement hardware required.
When you choose a reputable cloud provider, they will be the ones who perform updates and security checks, and ensure that the authentication processes in place are sufficient. This all happens in one place, outsourced to the cloud provider. This not only reduces the work your IT department has to do to keep security stringent, but it also reduces the overall costs. It is possible to find cloud providers with a ‘zero knowledge’ policy, which essentially means that it is impossible for your data to be seen by anyone you don’t want to share it with.
The best providers of cloud storage come with multifaceted authentication, or two-step authentication, making access to your account more secure. Most clouds, if not all, come with data encryption possibilities, making your information difficult or impossible for a third-party to decipher. Some clouds allow the user to encrypt their own data, while others do it automatically.
By no longer relying on in-house technology and hardware, cloud services provide the ultimate in reliability. There are no questions about losing storage devices or computers breaking down. Since cloud-based security covers all devices linked to a network, any device can be used safely to access documents in the cloud.
If you are still considering whether or not to move your business data to the cloud, 2017 will be a good year in which to do it. With usage set to double, providers are under pressure to give customers the best protection and storage for the lowest cost to be able to compete in the ever-growing market. Those providers currently leading the way are being challenged by lesser-known companies stepping in, and improvements are being made continually to meet demand. Despite the undeserved reputation that cloud security often has, cloud companies are always striving to administer the best in data security and deliver the many advantages of cloud security.
City Business Solutions provide cloud storage for our clients which is both secure and reliable. Outsourcing to an external cloud hosting provider can reduce costs and administration in the long run, while offering you flexibility and access from anywhere. If you would like more information on our cloud services, contact us today.