One of the primary considerations for a business when storing data is security. Traditionally, companies used to store their data and applications locally, on their on-premises servers. Now that we have cloud technology at our disposal, many of them are choosing to host their data on Cloud Hosting.
Agreed, the cloud comes with a lot of benefits. But is it really as secure as it is claimed to be? Can you afford to host all your data on the cloud without the fear of a breach? Let’s deep dive and find out.
Let us start by understanding what the cloud really is. Put simply, the cloud refers to the remote delivery of computing services. These services may be related to storage, compute or analytics. In a cloud hosting solution, your data is not hosted on a single server. Instead, servers in different locations interconnect to form a virtual ‘cloud’ server. The latter stores your data and can be accessed by means of the internet.
Security Benefits with Cloud Hosting
Cloud servers have some inherent benefits you can enjoy regardless of the service provider you have chosen. These include:
Redundancy: We may refer to the cloud as a virtual space, but the data on the cloud is actually stored in a physical location. In fact, when you host on the cloud, multiple copies of your data are stored on servers housed in different locations. Now, let’s say there is a hardware failure, power outage, or natural disaster, all your may have been wiped out if you were hosting it on a local server. Not in the case of the cloud. The cloud model comes with built-in redundancy, which means there is an adequate backup for your data. If servers in one of the locations get affected, those in other locations keep your data safe.
Stringent Security Standards: Cloud hosting providers in India have to adhere to rigorous protocols in order to ensure the data stored on their facility remains secure. These apply to physical security as well as cybersecurity. Most of the cloud data centers are well-guarded with defenses such as fences, high walls, armed manpower, surveillance cameras, fire alarms, and so on. Talking of cybersecurity, measures such as firewalls, anti-malware, intrusion detection, and multi-factor verification are put in place.
In addition, most cloud service providers deploy the latest encryption techniques to secure your data in transit. This minimizes the possibility of a breach.
Security Issues Cloud Hosting Cannot Eliminate
Now that we have discussed the security-related benefits of the cloud, let us talk about the risks you may have to face in a cloud service.
When you hire a cloud service provider, you essentially entrust a third party with your confidential data. However reputable your cloud host may be, insider threats are always there. Whether it is malicious intent or just an accident, the risk of losing data on account of an employee should never be underestimated. Of course, thorough vetting of prospective employees and training of new employees can mitigate the issue to a significant degree.
Lack of Visibility:
Most companies access to cloud hosting services in India through a range of devices, departments, and locations. In the absence of suitable tools in place, cloud vendors may lose visibility of who all are accessing their infrastructure. Without proper procedures, they may lose sight of who is using their services, what data they are accessing, downloading, or uploading. This increases the risk of a breach.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow users to customize their cloud experience. But in addition to giving organizations the ability to tailor the cloud services to fit their needs, these APIs provide access and affect encryption. APIs allow developers to integrate their website/application with other software. For instance, a company may integrate YouTube with its websites by means of APIs. So, while APIs help businesses, they also open room for vulnerabilities.
When moving to the cloud, you are required to adhere to a range of strict compliance regulations. If not careful, you are likely to face the risk of violation.
Cloud-based regulations require you to be aware of where your data is, who all have access to it and how it is processed and protected. By not offering adequate attention to these requirements, you can invite serious legal and financial repercussions.
Misconfiguration of Cloud Services:
This is another area that demands attention. Misconfiguration may cause your data to be publicly exposed, modified, or, at times, deleted.
Cloud hosting services in India are designed in such a manner that they can be easily made accessible to other parties, but the same feature can expose cloud resources to malicious entities. Many organizations do not change the default access settings for sensitive data. As a result, they end up giving access to unauthorized individuals or, in some cases, leave the data open for anyone to view and edit.
So, you see, cloud hosting in India comes with a host of issues. While many of these are not exclusive to the cloud, they can pose a big risk to your data and applications if not mitigated in a timely fashion.
It is, therefore, essential that you select a service provider that makes security a priority. Your provider should have strict in-built security protocols in place, and conform to the industry best practices.
Even in a scenario where you have all the security protocols in place, if you turn lax and don’t manage your cloud well, security issues are likely to arise. A lot of responsibility for securing your data lies with you, so cloud security is essentially a shared responsibility model where you have to manage a number of tasks on your own.
Adopting a few best practices such as training your users on secure cloud practices, implementing strict user access policies, securing your end-points through firewalls, intrusion detection tools, anti-malware, monitoring cloud usage across all resources, locations, projects, and implementing your own encryption solutions (in addition to the one offered by your cloud service provider) are some of the ways in which you can minimize the risk of data breach or loss.
The way forward
So, you see there is no foolproof way of storing your data on any server. Your data remains vulnerable even on your own premises. So, the best way forward is an optimal mix of cloud and on-premises servers. This way, you can use public cloud servers for hosting non-critical data and applications and on-premises servers for hosting sensitive business information. A hybrid model works great for organizations with fluctuating workloads, so if there is a spike in user requests, the same can be handled by your cloud hosting provider.
Are you hosting your workloads on the cloud? If so, have you faced any major security issues so far? Let us know in the comment section.