Cloud-based platforms are no longer the new tech on the block, with innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) looking to take over that title. So, has people’s attitudes towards the cloud changed? In times gone by cloud was seen as insecure or a risk but that’s no longer the case.
Lock data up and throw away the encryption key*
Cloud security has been called into question many times in recent years and cloud platforms such as Apple’s iCloud have made headlines with claims that celebrities have had personal information, files and images stolen from the platform. Any data stolen from such a platform is more likely the result of a hack or phishing scam designed to gain access to data via a stolen password rather than of poor security on the platform itself. Of course, additional security measures can be taken such as two-factor authentication, but cloud platforms are secure and will often utilise encryption secure enough to protect military material.
When it comes to data protection, backup is never far from the fray and cloud backup specifically. Cloud has been a growing industry for over a decade and this points to one thing, it’s not going away. When it comes to cloud backup platforms they are now giving traditional on-site technologies a run for their money when security is questioned.
*Disclaimer: Throwing away records of your encryption key is likely to cause problems when you try to recover data.
Cloud vs on-site
The security of data being protected by cloud has been questioned but it’s easy to overlook some of the inherent security risks associated with on-site or legacy (tape) based backup solutions.
For a start, many of these systems require manual intervention and a minimum two-step process to secure data off-site. Any system that requires manual intervention is open to human error or unauthorised access. Having to transport removable media to and from an off-site storage location can open up the threat of theft or loss. Using encrypted media can help mitigate some of this risk but using a cloud solution could remove the risk entirely.
Advantages of cloud
There are some stand out advantages of using cloud-based platforms and many organisations are utilising these to full effect. 2017 has seen an increase, to 85%, of enterprise organisations who not only utilise cloud but are utilising multi-cloud strategies.
- Flexibility – Utilising cloud-based platforms allows organisations to be more flexible in the way that they deploy and manage services. As many cloud platforms offer pay-as-you-go services, organisations can scale up and down easily without worrying about hidden costs or large capital outlays.
- Automation – Being able to reduce the amount of human intervention involved in IT processes, namely backup, allows IT staff to concentrate on tasks with a more beneficial return as well as reducing the risk of human error.
- Maintenance – Utilising cloud-based platforms allows organisations to reduce, or cut out, maintenance costs and time. If something were to go wrong with a cloud platform it is likely that users will see little or no effect as systems fail over to allow engineers to fix issues in the background.
- Development – 20 years ago the concept of cloud platforms was unheard of, today they are everywhere and the market for providing cloud services is very competitive. Vendors have to continue to develop cloud platforms to stay relevant and end-users will see all of the benefits of this.
The current state of cloud
With cloud users running an average of 1.8 public clouds and 2.3 private clouds, it is not difficult to understand the scale of cloud platforms today. Cloud platforms are increasing in popularity and driving the development of features as demand grows. Security may have been a concern a few years ago but developers have long since resolved this.
Decision makers often stick to what they know and who could blame them, it’s the safe bet. Regardless of this, many organisations have begun their journey to the cloud and if they aren’t utilising one cloud platform, they are utilising several. Confidence in the cloud is growing and the percentage of IT professionals with concerns around the security of the cloud, falling by 4% in a single year.