The Cloud Security Paradox
When discussing cloud solutions one of the first things I’m always asked about is information security. I understand the need to control data access and the general fear of your data getting into the wrong hands. However, what many people fail to realize is that in many cases your data is more secure when hosted with a cloud provider. Many would call this a counterintuitive suggestion but in fact it’s an interesting paradox.
In so many facets of both our personal and professional lives we often use professionals to handle tasks that are out of our realm of expertise. We don’t generate our own power unless there’s an outage, we don’t drill for oil and refine it to produce our own gasoline. We don’t do our own landscaping, we don’t repair our own plumbing and we certainly don’t perform surgery on ourselves. Why don’t we do these things? We’re not experts in these fields. When needed, we use people who have spent their whole lives learning and perfecting a craft. Many times when we try to do these things on our own the results are less than optimal.
Now think of your organization. Are you in the security business? Most likely you aren’t. You are experts in your own field and at providing your product or service. Your staff has decades of experience in areas other than security. In fact, you probably already have an external organization managing your building access and executive security.
One sad fact is that most information security breaches are inside jobs. With an on-site data center where people are coming and going all day long it can be difficult to secure your data with a high level of confidence. On the other hand, cloud providers are experts in securing your data. Their business and reputation depend on making sure that your data is protected as much as possible. They are well aware of the fact that any lapse in data security would be catastrophic to their business.
When you place data into the cloud and encrypt it you own the keys. There is no shared access with the provider. If you lose your keys your data is inaccessible just like it would be if you hosted it yourself. Included with many of the top cloud providers are sophisticated intrusion detection systems. These services are usually included with no extra charge. The physical access to cloud systems is extremely controlled and limited.
If you’re apprehensive about the cloud because of security concerns, remember that cloud providers have an incredible incentive to secure your data. They employ countless people to ensure that your data and systems are secure. When it comes to information security, sometimes you want to let the experts do what they do best.