The boogie-man that is internet cloud security vulnerabilities
After participating in a recent online discussion about security vulnerabilities in internet clouds, I was a bit surprised at how many people still seem to think that using publicly-exposed internet clouds are less secure than clouds or networks sitting behind private firewalls.
It’s important not to be distracted by buzz words, a cloud is a large network of servers. The servers are set up to talk to each other to share the load. This has been something that’s been around for many years.
Lots of hackers use some program or virus to gain access to servers. It could be an attachment in an email or it could be delivered by a person with physical access to your computers. They could also be getting info by using a man-in-the-middle attack. Sometimes hackers come into possession of passwords and account info, sometimes weak security precautions are simply too tempting to crack for some hackers. All of these things can happen with or without a firewall.
Also, who knows how Amazon’s, Google’s or Salesforce’s clouds are structured? All their servers have custom operating and file systems. Trying to hack a system you have no information on is going to be more difficult than a system you are familiar with.
Something else I notice people forget is that clouds are usually backed up to at least 1 other physical location. If your network goes down because of a power outage, is all your data automatically available on the other side of the continent?
Clouds make efficient use of computer resources. The level of security, scalability and affordability is unmatched by anything a regular IT department can put together and maintain.
The myth that clouds are less secure is just that – when was the last time you heard of a cloud breaking or losing data? You hear about banks being hacked and credit card numbers being stolen from a variety of places. Maybe they should consider outsourcing their data and data management to a cloud.
There is no such thing as a 100% secure and safe system. There will always be some sort of hole in everything, but clouds have a better track record in terms of both security and uptime. The trend is definitely changing though, more and more offerings are being made from a cloud, Schedule Bin is one of them. Because Schedule Bin runs from a cloud, we are able to run our business with minimal cost and IT management overhead. In fact, there is so little overhead that we can give our service away for free!
[a Cobworks commentary]