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How the Cloud Makes Your Information More Secure, Foolproof

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Though most businesses have embraced the cloud in recent years, many holdouts continue to cite security as the reason why they don’t make the leap. Based on fears that first surfaced a decade ago, some simply feel that allowing any third party to touch their data is an unneeded risk.

But does the cloud actually make your information more secure? While that debate is ongoing, several key perspectives have emerged to suggest that the cloud is a boon — not a drawback — to protecting your information.

Cutting-Edge Security in the Cloud

In some ways, the cloud can protect your data better than on-premises storage, particularly for anyone still relying on ancient legacy systems. According to David Linthicum of Infoworld, cloud providers employ better security measures and are more attentive to overall security risks. Linthicum wrote this back in 2015 — and things have only improved since.

Linthicum noted that the public cloud uses a blend of “paranoia” and an ongoing search for cutting-edge protection that most companies simply never equal in practice. Providers know they have an inherent reputation risk — not to mention the cost of potential legal fallout — involved in safeguarding information. Any breach could gut their client base and erase the market’s confidence in their operations.

“The cloud providers are much better at systemic security services, such as looking out for attacks using pattern-matching technology and even [artificial intelligence] systems,” wrote Linthicum. “This combination means they have very secure systems.”

Encouraging Data Differentiation

A more recent analysis highlights another key component about why transitioning to the cloud often helps an organization add another layer of protection to its most sensitive data. Jef Cozza of CIO Today magazine, summed up the findings: “Things seem to be looking up for enterprise cloud security.”

The author was basing his outlook on Symantec’s recently released “Shadow Data Report,” which covers the second half of 2016 and highlights how companies have begun to be more discerning about what data they put on the cloud. In short, they are more willing to put their day-to-day information in the cloud while maintaining their most sensitive data on private servers. “Research shows a significant reduction in the percentage of broadly shared files in the cloud that contain confidential or compliance-related content,” the Symantec study stated.

In layman’s terms, Symantec’s survey revealed that firms are learning to differentiate their data. In the past, many companies that used the cloud would upload anything. But now they are increasingly cognizant of the fact that most of their information is safe to put on the cloud while maintaining their most sensitive data on premises.

And the very process of differentiation — analyzing the type of information held by the firm and assigning it different security priority levels — helps to improve the overall culture of data security within the organization. This, as most IT pros know, is half the battle.

People, Not the Cloud, Are Your Weakest Link

Despite the high-profile headlines revealing data breaches by hackers that expose the private information of millions, Verizon’s “2016 Data Breach Investigations Report” found that 70 percent of initial intrusions into a network occur due to social engineering and phishing tactics.

People — not cloud vulnerability — remain the weakest link in IT security. So keeping better tabs on who has access to the most sensitive data will do more for protection than anything. The best blend of security is to reap the savings of cheap data storage and software-as-a-service operations that touch your routine information, then keeping the rest in highly-guarded servers in which fewer employees can gain access.

The realization of development is one reason the cloud is being embraced more and more. This is why cloud applications with enterprise-class security — like Office 365, Salesforce, and Cisco WebEx — are all the rage. This is why many now understand that moving their company’s customer service center to a cloud contact center allows greater security. This is why organizations like the Cloud Security Alliance are being relied on to help hold cloud providers accountable and ensure they maintain safeguards on par — and usually higher — than typical companies.

No amount of security is foolproof. But many cloud providers are among those leading the fight against the black-hat hackers who try to exploit any vulnerable system they can find. And in 2017, chances are that their solutions are better than the protections that most individual companies can afford.

Source: Jared Wade, SocialMonsters.org

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