One of the first questions we often get from potential customers is in regards to data security. They want to know, is the cloud safe? Is our data vulnerable to outside hackers? Will it be sold to third-party advertisers?
These are great questions to ask. We would expect our customers, especially those that have at least a working knowledge of cloud computing, to have questions about how their data is protected.
We’ll address the security issue in a moment, but first it may help to quickly rehash some of the basics of cloud computing. Cloud-based storage is simply the practice of storing data in a virtual space that is hosted by a third party.
This allows users to free up space on their hard drives by saving data to remote servers. It allows updates made from multiple devices to be reflected instantaneously on other devices using the same network. The benefits are extensive. But is this kind of cloud storage safe?
Data security and encryption
You wouldn’t trust just any stranger to watch your suitcase at the airport. In the same way, no one should offload their data to a company they haven’t thoroughly researched. It’s what we did when we chose Rackspace to manage our cloud data storage services. Their managed cloud services are widely respected and trusted by companies like Mazda, Under Armour, Six Flags and Domino’s Pizza.
Though your data is uploaded to a virtual space, the servers that store the data do have a physical location. This physical location makes physical security an important component of the services provided by a cloud hosting business. Server banks should take precautions that include tightly controlled access, around-the-clock surveillance, screening for new employees and advanced fire protection. Physical security is an aspect of cloud hosting that’s often overlooked in favor of the cyber security concerns.
In addition to physical security, a third-party host must also be capable of protecting your data from a cyber-security breach. This is the reason for data encryption, which is nothing more than the scrambling of a file’s contents for privacy protection. Data that is being transferred is encoded so that its contents would be unintelligible to a would-be interceptor. Encryption has become the standard method for protecting data from cyber criminals. Any managed cloud service that does not encrypt data while it is being transferred should not be trusted.
Passwords will also play a part in securing your data. Since this is the security step that’s statistically the most likely to be tested, it’s important that you choose a password that is long, unique and changed periodically. While passwords may be susceptible to the efforts of hackers, when chosen according to the above criteria, they can be an effective method for securing data.
Trusting the best
Data storage is big business. That means data security is also big business. The biggest names in tech have seen data security as an area of opportunity to offer real value to consumers and corporations alike. Unfortunately, while hacks do sometimes happen, cloud data security is successful enough that, according to an industry survey, over half of all companies use cloud services to some extent.
We know how important data security is. That’s why, at TruQC, we chose to place our customer’s data in the hands of one of the most trusted providers of third-party cloud hosting, Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is used by some of the most successful businesses on the planet, including Expedia, Coursera, Unilever and Netflix. You can read more about AWS here.