Cloud technology is fast becoming a stable in the IT strategies of all modern businesses. Well-known benefits like flexible and rapid deployment help cloud technologies hold their own against more established ‘traditional’ approaches which often rely on hardware. In addition, the security concerns which once stigmatised cloud technologies are being put to rest with encryption and two-factor authentication in use in many cloud products and services.
Public cloud can be defined as a cloud-based service that is available to the public over the internet. Public cloud offerings are often offered on a pay as you go pricing model, ensuring users only pay for what they use.
Public cloud offerings are also growing in popularity as they present organisations and individuals alike an easy way to provision new services and solutions on-demand. These services can be administered in a matter of minutes and due to the way they are priced, are flexible and usually require no heavy upfront investment.
Confidence in public cloud security
One of the most well-known and utilised cloud technologies which can be delivered as a public cloud offering is Office365. The service is so popular in fact that between April and October 2017 the number of business users grew by 20% to some 120 million people. A recent research paper published by Computing looked into the security around Office365 and it’s users perceived views on this.
The research paper had some interesting findings and ultimately concluded that there was a gap in the perception of security and the reality of what the cloud service offers. Of those surveyed 75% were actively using Office365 in some capacity, many for its online mail system. Other aspects of the O365 offering varied in adoption and use. A shocking 70% lacked confidence in the security aspects of the product with around 60% having been affected by an outage of the service. While these security concerns likely could have been alleviated with better training or product knowledge, the associated downtime could be cause for concern.
The survey continues into detail around how users perceive the service they receive and what general security concerns are held. It was found that despite ransomware having been such a large threat throughout past years, that organisations were generally more worried about other types of malware, trojans and viruses. Downtime associated with ransomware, however, was greater than for other types of malware.
56.5 organisations stated security concerns as a reason for not fully implementing O365 and over 40% stated it was due to the complexity of operating a hybrid cloud model.
The need for secure cloud services
With cloud growing in use throughout organisations there is a potential for data to be stored in a multitude of places. This can present a challenge for organisations, however, administered correctly should actually be an opportunity to ensure protection, guarantee uptime and manage data efficiently.
It is vital when implementing cloud solutions, public or otherwise, to understand where data will be stored; ‘the cloud’ isn’t an adequate answer and data protection regulation will often state where data can and cannot be stored. Further to this, understanding what security levels are in place and who, if anyone, has access to data at the back-end will help prevent unauthorised access.
The use of encryption as a method for securely storing data is nothing ground-breaking but it is important. Encrypting data ensures that even if an unauthorised party, such as a hacker or cyber-crook, gets access to data they will not be able to use it without unencrypting it first – something that is not an easy task. The GDPR even states encryption as a recommended method of data protection.
Recovering cloud data
Downtime is costly for organisations, but what happens if you lose data stored in the cloud and can you get it back? While many cloud storage platforms will likely keep an additional copy of data, this may not be the most secure method of recovery. For one, this could be a replicated copy and should the data become corrupted or is in fact completed deleted the replicated copy is likely to mirror that. For compliance or regulatory needs, retention of data stored in the cloud can become an issue.
Cloud to cloud backup
A solution to the issues presented by having to recover data stored in the cloud is to use a backup solution capable of backing up data from the cloud. This itself is likely to be a cloud solution. Redstor has specialised in providing cloud backup solutions for over a decade and ensure the highest levels of security when backing up and protecting data. In development is Redstor’s cloud to cloud backup solution, starting with OneDrive backups – sign up to be the first to hear about it, here.