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How Secure Is The Cloud? A Quick Rundown
Cloud computing is rapidly increasing in prevalence: much of our data is now stored in “the cloud,” while more and more businesses are adopting cloud-based solutions to file storage, data backup, and — critically — website hosting, where cloud hosting is increasingly becoming the preferred method.
The question must be asked, though — with all of this data floating in the ether of cyberspace, can we be sure it’s safe and secure?
The practice of storing files and hosting resources locally on a computer’s internal hard drive is slowly becoming a quaint memory of days gone by. Nonetheless, many remain skeptical of cloud computing, citing concerns about data protection and security threats.
We’re here to alleviate some of those worries if this sounds like you. Below, we’ll examine how secure the cloud is compared to traditional hosting methods.
Cloud hosting vs. dedicated hosting
Private, on-site servers were previously the most common hosting option for businesses. These bulky, expensive server setups weren’t just challenging to install and configure; they also needed an entire department dedicated to their maintenance.
And, even with a team of specialists monitoring it, something as simple as a power cut could cause catastrophic data loss.
An increasing number of businesses are opting for a managed cloud hosting service. The appeal of using a managed cloud hosting provider like Cloudways vs a traditional private host is pretty straightforward.
There’s no need to invest thousands on on-site servers or hire a squad of highly-paid IT specialists to maintain them. Managed hosting offers industry-grade security, speed, and reliability to match even the most sophisticated private server setups, all at a fraction of the price.
There’s also a budget-friendly middle ground between cloud and dedicated hosting — shared hosting. Here, a single server is shared by multiple users, and each user gets a share of bandwidth.
However, performance levels can vary wildly. A single server can often end up hosting thousands of websites, with one or two users hogging the limited resources available.
For this reason alone, we wouldn’t recommend shared hosting to anyone other than those operating on an extremely tight budget!
How secure is the cloud?
Do you use a bank to store your money? If so, how often do you worry about whether your money is secure or not? We’ll take an educated guess and say that it’s doubtful that the thought ever crosses your mind.
We’ve become accustomed to the idea that our hard-earned cash is perfectly safe in a bank. In years to come, cloud security will be regarded similarly. It might surprise you that hosting data in the cloud is more secure than storing it locally.
This primarily concerns the highly advanced encryption techniques used on the cloud’s servers. With your files incomprehensibly scrambled beyond all recognition, it’s rather unlikely that even the most cunning cybercriminals will be able to gain access to them.
Most cloud platforms are built with security in mind, so a suite of additional security features typically comes as standard — ensuring servers are continually monitored and modified to protect against emerging threats and potential vulnerabilities. Just some of the robust security features offered by cloud providers include:
Automatic security updates
We’ve all been guilty of ignoring those irritating pop-ups begging us to install the latest security patch. If you’re storing your data in the cloud, these minor annoyances will become a thing of the past, as all the necessary security updates will be applied automatically.
With managed cloud hosting, there’s no risk of forgetting to run any updates — this is all handled by a team of highly-trained IT security specialists!
As with traditional server setups, cloud hosting providers also make use of firewalls to help protect your data. Whether they’re hardware or software-based, firewalls apply rules to all traffic entering a network.
Your data is protected behind this wall by these rules, which filter out any suspicious traffic which may be malicious. Firewalls make it much harder for hackers to slip malware or viruses past the security measures on your server, which is why they’re so widely used by cloud hosting providers.
The vast majority of cloud hosting providers practice redundancy. In layman’s terms, the specialists who manage your data will ensure it’s backed up and stored in multiple data centers.
Hardware failures? Power cuts? Natural disasters? Your data will be safe and sound! Your request will simply be redirected to a backup server if one server goes down.
Opt to store your data in the cloud. You can be safe knowing that your cloud provider is likely to employ the services of cyber security professionals to perform regular penetration tests.
These highly-skilled IT specialists will perform simulated attacks to evaluate the overall security of the servers. They may also perform ‘physical penetration tests’ to assess whether attackers could gain unauthorized access to a server room.
It’s unfortunate that many of those who are used to traditional, dedicated hosting are reluctant to leap to the cloud. Still, hopefully, we’ve managed to convince you of how secure this new technology truly is!
For more information on the cloud, check out our post on the top reasons to transfer your business to the cloud, or if you’re looking to improve your data security, check out our top 8 cyber security tips.