Can the Cloud Protect Your Data?

August 1, 2017 Off By Hoofer
Article Written by Avery Phillips

For most people, the cloud is this otherworldly thing that they don’t completely understand. Yes, your data is there, and yes, occasionally other people can access it, but is it safe? Can you guarantee who is able to access your data, or is it a free-for-all? 

Well, the answer to that is more complicated than you think. On one hand, some severe cyberattacks could have been avoided if the victims had been using cloud services instead. On the other, there is always the risk that someone unauthorized will be able to access your data. This might seem like a double-edged sword, but one end is clearly sharper than other upon closer inspection.

The Current Situation

Right now, about 10 percent of the world’s data is stored on the cloud. This is during a time when the pure amount of data is skyrocketing in every sector, from healthcare to nonprofits. However, not everyone is ready to make the change over to the cloud. Indeed, many businesses are still sticking to their on-premise data storage. To be fair, change is always a process for businesses. Hardly anything gets done overnight. Instead, a move like this will take a while to actually be enacted – longer the larger your organization is.

However, in our personal lives, we use the cloud all the time. Most shared data on social media sites are stored in the cloud; when we shop online, data of our browsing in continuously collected into the cloud. That’s why you see recommendations and recently viewed products on the side. Although we often are more protective over our personal information than business information, that doesn’t seem to apply here. Perhaps we’re just unaware of the degree that we’ve let the cloud into our lives.

Benefits of Using the Cloud

All the same, the cloud is a better tool for business than most people realize. First, IT departments will have more time for in-house duties, focusing on the needs of other employees. An extensive IT department isn’t necessary for a lot of businesses if they use cloud analytics, so some extra money can also go towards other departments. Deciding to go with cloud analytics and storage can be just as much a budgetary decision as a security one.

Even though there are security concerns with the cloud, there will be security concerns with any method of data collection or analysis that your business uses. Not that you shouldn’t examine the security pros and cons of each method, but the mere potential of a security threat cannot be your sole reason to reject cloud solutions. 

Recognize that biggest problem with cloud storage is actually how authorized users interact with it. User mismanagement and insider theft will account for 80 percent of cloud data breaches through 2020. But with proper training and full utilization of cloud security features, businesses should be able to rest easy.

So Why Is Everyone Dragging Their Feet?

If the cloud is so great, why do so many people not take advantage of it? Well, one reason is that they just don’t understand it, and that alone makes them feel unsafe. They hear people talk about the "cloud" all the time, but they haven’t actually looked into it themselves. Considering that this isn’t simply a trend that will disappear with time, some focused research and direction could definitely help these people. 

Additionally, many people don’t understand that, especially with cloud security, access matters much more than the physical location. It can be psychologically comforting to have the location of important data nearby, but this doesn’t actually help with security. In fact, considering that so many data breaches are internal, this might actually be more of an issue. However, even for those who insist that cloud providers will access their precious data, there is a solution. Cloud providers allow their customers to customize their encryption keys, so that no one within the provider could access the data even if they wanted to. Cloud compliance, or ensuring that the cloud is meeting security standards, is an exploding field, and this is where IT will be focusing in the coming years. 

Ultimately, the answer is most likely risk aversion. The majority of businesses have been doing just fine with their traditional security methods, and they feel little push to overhaul their current systems, especially when information about cloud security is not clearcut. There are positives and negatives, to be sure, but eventually cloud services will be the norm. As more and more people become comfortable with it and understand its advantages, it’ll be the only viable alternative for business and personal data security.


About the Author

Avery Phillips is a unicorn of a human being who loves all things relating to people and their entrepreneurial spirits. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian.