Many of you may have a grandparent or relative who still holds onto depression-era fears that their money isn’t safe in the bank. Some of them may actually even keep their money under their mattresses or hidden in their freezer. Never mind the FDIC or all the other advances that made banks far more secure—or that a house fire was far more likely than a run on a modern bank.
Anyone who understands modern banking knows that their money is safer within institutions that are dedicated to protecting it. But what all-too-few businesses realise is that there’s a clear analogy between keeping your money under your mattress and storing your data in an on-premises server.
In 2013, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse found that nearly 43% of data breaches in the U.S. were the result of physical theft, device loss and insider threats.
Unless you can build a vault in your basement, the bank can offer greater security. And unless you can build an enterprise-grade datacentre, the cloud can offer much greater protection. (Although even if you can afford your own datacentre, you’re not necessarily in the clear. The security breaches that got the biggest headlines recently —such as those experienced by Sony and Target—featured attacks on private datacentres.)
Is your office door more secure than a modern datacentre?
Many IT managers and business decision-makers think cloud storage is less secure than on-premises because they don’t have direct control. They like being able to touch their servers, in other words.
But physical proximity to your data is the easiest route to theft. Just ask Green’s Accounting in Greenfield, CA—last year, a burglar smashed a window with a rock and stole their server. They walked away with unencrypted client data. A similar event occurred this past year at the offices of Dr. Catherine Steinborn, a California dentist, who came to work one morning to find that her local server containing private patient information—including Social Security numbers—had been stolen. Both businesses were forced to issue formal notification letters to the state and to their customers—and received some unwanted publicity, to boot.
When you keep money under your mattress, anyone with a crowbar can steal that money. The same can be said for storing your data on-premises.
But when your data is hosted by an enterprise cloud provider—and stored in a modern datacentre—you often have the additional protection of armed guards and advanced security measures, including multi-tenant platform security, intrusion protection systems, authentication policies and more.
But what about hackers?
A 2013 study by Trustwave found that up to 63% of security vulnerabilities were caused by poor standards or processes for governing third-party access to networks.
One of the biggest advantages of storing your data in the cloud is protection from remote attacks. While on-premises storage solutions leverage firewalls to protect your data from unauthorised remote access, they can be easily compromised by skilled hackers. But when you opt for an enterprise-grade hosted cloud provider, you get a bevy of security layers to help protect your data including real-time access monitoring, audit logs, device management and refined access controls.
Access control is particularly important. Up to 89% of ex-employees keep their work passwords after employment. This creates security vulnerabilities, which can put your company at risk. Cloud servers can be controlled and managed in detail to allow all employees to have access only to the files they require. Access can be permitted or revoked with a single click.
Similar to the benefits of transferring applications and infrastructure to the cloud, cloud storage offers a lower cost of entry, ease-of operation and improved agility for businesses.
With all the advantages of cloud storage solutions, it’s time for businesses to get their data out from under the mattress and into the cloud.
By Jonathan Levine, CTO, Intermedia