Is Cloud-based Computing as Secure as Server Hosting?
Security questions have hounded cloud services since their inception. But, is the cloud an inherently less secure method of computing than in-house servers? The answer differs depending on who you ask.
A 2014 study by the information security-focused Ponemon Institute found that about half (51%) of IT security practitioners had concerns about their organizations’ ability to secure data and applications hosted in the cloud. Understandably, these concerns provide enough justification for some organizations to avoid using the cloud.
However, other IT experts contend that the cloud’s out-sized security vulnerability is a myth. In fact, they argue that security of cloud-based services is often better because of industry standards governing data centers. In majority of cases, they say, what threatens the security of the cloud is the same thing that threatens in-house IT infrastructure — the users.
So, perhaps, the debate should be reframed. Maybe the question isn’t “How secure is the cloud?”. Maybe what you should be asking is “How good are my data security protocols?” and “How well does my team understand them?”.
These are much bigger questions. But, ones that are likely to result in a better approach to data security and risk management. Putting cloud-specific security concerns aside and thinking about your data network holistically allows you to zero in on your organization’s unique IT management needs.
The Public Cloud
Over 70% of the world’s businesses rely at least in part on services based in the cloud. These services offer some serious advantages for data storage and website hosting, not the least of which is cost effectiveness.
Cloud services are easy to access, customizable to your organization’s structure and adaptable to changing needs. When you host your website on the cloud, there’s no need to buy and configure expensive servers. There’s no need to hire a large IT staff for the purpose of server maintenance. And, you can also scale up quickly, in case your website traffic spikes unexpectedly (yay!).
Services delivered via the cloud tend to have extensive security measures, including change management — the ability to track system and data changes within a computer network. You can also restrict access to sensitive data streams to designated personnel.
That adds up to a fairly convincing business case. So, why do some organizations insist on building out their own extensive IT infrastructure?
The Case for In-house Servers
The bottom line is, you lose a measure of control the second your data leaves your network. Even if that data is stored on a very secure server in a tightly controlled data center, there’s a possibility that you could lose access unexpectedly.
Additionally, some industries carry stringent requirements for data management that can impact IT infrastructure decisions. If you work with the military or the intelligence community, for example, you may be restricted from relying on servers based in other countries. If you’re a hospital or a doctor’s office, there are legal obligations that come with storing patient records electronically. In both cases, the choice to use secure, in-house servers may be perceived as more prudent.
Lots of things happen that we cannot control. When and if they do, proximity to the physical location of your data can be an advantage. For this reason, organizations large and small, sometimes choose to keep their data network in-house.
Beacon is Here to Help
Whether you’re looking to streamline your IT infrastructure, or need expert assistance supporting your in-house data processing and storage, Beacon IT Services (BITS) has the technical know-how you need. Have questions or concerns? Give our experienced team a call at 336.265.2700.