Is cloud solutions more secure than in-house services? It can be economical but is it 100% SAFE?

Cloud computing has been marketed as the great solution for controlling technology costs, for the rapid deployment of solutions and a windbreak against uncontrolled system downtime. Those with experience in this space will be able to poke quite a few holes in those assumptions, when a cloud service provider, like Amazon, experiences an outage, it can be scary to those that use the service. Outages can lead to unsecured data, such as when Drop box had their recent password issue.

One common area that most of us would agree on is that there are greater security risks with cloud-based systems.

Following are a few points which are making Cloud storage so popular:
  1. One way of potentially reducing your security risk is to engage the services of a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). A MSSP can monitor, remediate and notify their customer of network and system vulnerabilities via a cloud service. The client can gain a significant boost on security without hiring anyone internally. This is an excellent way to free up internal staff to tackle proactive security tasks.
  2. Second, a cloud solution for critical data storage provides a hedge against a catastrophic event. This remotely stored data can then be restored at the reconstituted customer site as part of its Disaster Recovery plan. One caveat to this strategy is data restoration from the cloud can be slow based on the amount of data and bandwidth available for the total restoration. Companies should still have a tape or disk backup strategy for Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity. However, having the cloud data recovery option available is a viable choice for enterprise customers who cannot afford significant data loss.
  3. Third, the management of mobile devices via Software as a Service (SaaS) model in the cloud. Many organizations are looking to pare back IT staff and adding another system to configure, implement, monitor and maintain for Mobile Device Management (MDM) may prove to be too costly. Having the hardware/software in the cloud removes a significant internal resource cost as well as capital expenditures on hardware and software.

But is this all a commonly practiced industry standard by ALL CLOUD STORAGE providers? Ensuring that cloud solutions are more secure than in-house services can be difficult to define and measure.

Have any of us ever asked ourselves a simple question? How moving to a cloud computing provider can improve security? Or how moving a particular service or system to the cloud can actually improve your organization’s security posture?

What most users don't understand is that when these cloud services are free then .. WHY FREE?... no one gives away free storage - not even Google.

What’s worse is that these cloud storage providers are so enticing! And all these value propositions generally come to a squawking halt when someone realizes that the data you're carelessly putting up "in the cloud" isn't encrypted on its own. Mostly because you just assumed everything is safe and secure you never invest in a proper encryption system.

This is where we all are WRONG. All those corporate documents you put up on that cloud storage provider can now be pulled down by an attacker with relative ease. Moving beyond simple cloud storage we have cloud-based backup, cloud-based archiving (almost the same as backup), and now remote-access of local storage through the cloud and list goes on and on and on. How does that work with your security policy? Most important point is that if you can access the data from anywhere so can hackers.

Outages can also lead to loss of data, a major concern of all businesses. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud had outage issues twice in 2011 and these outages caused some of their clients to lose precious data. So, the big question remains – can cloud companies truly guarantee the safety of data?

Cloud comes with a risk of lack of control over system and data access, concerns about data encryption, data ownership and classification of critical data. Security risks on the business side include loose Service Level Agreement (SLA) and inability to retrieve enterprise data from vendor effectively.

Also all the cloud service providers are also using hard drives for data backup just like all of us and the most commonly used SATA/PATA hard drive are extremely sensitive to static electricity and physical jarring or jolts.

While no one can say for 100% certain that data will not be lost because you have a cloud service. The cloud is useful – no one can argue that point – however, it has its weak points, one of which is data loss. If cloud service providers can face data loss, so can you.

If your data is critical, make sure you choose a data recovery service like Stellar Phoenix that can properly recover data from physically damaged drives. Even the simplest recovery attempts on a physically damaged drive could render your data unrecoverable. The first recovery attempt is always the best recovery attempt.

At Stellar Phoenix Solutions, our engineers use the safest methods available to ensure your data is not lost from repeated recovery attempts. We have successfully recovered data from hundreds of thousands of drives with extreme physical and logical damage.