How safe is the Cloud? Why it pays to protect yourself first

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Cloud computing has grown almost exponentially in recent years. But with it have grown concerns about the safety and security of using this new method of computing.

Steve Wozniak once described the Cloud as leading to ‘horrible problems’ and although he has recently revealed that he has revised his opinion and is actually a fan, he still gives companies stern warnings about going ‘all in’ just yet.

As you might expect, Mr Wozniak is probably right. While there are some pretty serious security concerns with the Cloud, as long as you protect yourself and your business before getting involved, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy its benefits in safety.

Cloud security

First off, you need to ask the relevant questions before getting involved. For example, will the data stored remain within the EU, US or UK? Or will it be stored elsewhere? Who in the supplier organisation will have access to your data? What certification standard does the supplier adhere to?

Remember that most security breaches occur in-house, with 36% due to negligence of employees and contractors. Only 29% of breaches relate to criminal of malicious factors.

One major advantage of the Cloud is that if someone wanted to steal specific data, they would have to break into a secure data centre – something that is far from easy.

Over the wire attacks are relatively easy to defend against, with most taking the form of denial of service attacks (dDOS).

Strong passwords are also an essential tool, with a ten character password having about 948,000,000,000,000,000 possible combinations that could take years to crack. This is opposed to an eight character password which could take just a few hours.

External security

Before using cloud services, you should also ensure you are protected by a software escrow service.

This will protect any external software licences you are using, holding the source code in a secure, third party environment in the event of complications.

Escrow providers such as the NCC Group offer added protection and peace of mind for small businesses thinking about using the Cloud or with other general software security issues.

  

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