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The Cloud’s Top 4 Security Concerns Shot Down
What IS the Cloud?
Simply put, cloud computing is when you run programs and store/access data over the internet.
But why does that matter?
At one time or another, you’ve used cloud computing. Have you used Gmail? That is a form of cloud computing. Bought some shiny new thing on Amazon or bid on an iPad on eBay? They store their information in a cloud infrastructure. Cloud computing is embedded in modern society and modern business practices, and it’s only going to grow.
Cloud computing works by having multiple computers perform specific functions that work together to process data faster and provide almost unlimited storage. These networks of computers are housed in large warehouses called data centers.
Cloud computing is how small businesses can run cloud-based software that enables them to perform like big business, offering services and benefits that big businesses do, without spending the same amount. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the pay-as-you-go, on-demand format of cloud computing that allows small businesses to tailor the software to their needs. SaaS can scale up or down as their business grows or downsizes.
Did you know: “So-called “dumb-terminals” that lack local storage and connect to a local server or mainframe go back decades. The first Internet-only product attempts included the old NIC (New Internet Computer), the Netpliance iOpener, and the disastrous 3Com Audrey. You could argue they all debuted well before their time—dial-up speeds of the 1990s had training wheels compared to the accelerated broadband Internet connections of today.” – pcmag.com
The iCloud Celebrity Leak
Apple, with its own brand of cloud computing called iCloud, suffered in the headlines in 2014 when 26 celebrities had their pictures stolen from their personal accounts. While the celebrities did have their accounts hacked and their photos leaked online, the media vilified iCloud as the culprit for not being secure and susceptible to hackers.
Many people were left asking “if celebrities are not safe in the cloud, then who is?” As a result, Apple launched its own investigation and found that it was vulnerabilities in its password security system that allowed hackers to guess users’ passwords and security questions.
The iCloud was never breached.
“After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security questions… None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone.” – Apple, September 2, 2014
How Safe Can the Cloud Really Be?
Cloud providers emphasize the importance of having dedicated engineers and programmers constantly working on cloud security. Top cloud providers employ the highest security measures to protect not only themselves but also their clientele’s information and reputation.
Some of the earliest cloud providers were created to link supercomputers together for use of the military and research facilities, all of which require top security of their information. Cloud providers do this through encryption. Encryption is when complex algorithms are used to convert your data into ciphertext that cannot be read without the encryption key (think Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark trying to decode ancient Egyptian messages).
Encryption is not 100% foolproof and can be cracked if hackers have forensic software, lots of time, and computing power to spare. But, with that in mind, cloud providers still employ more complex encryption methods than an average small business owner would be able to do on their own, making cloud computing a step up in security.
Once My Data’s in the Cloud, It’s Security is Out of My Hands
As we saw with the iCloud-celebrity-photo-gate, the cloud can have the most advanced encryption and security systems, but, it will do no good if their users are leaving the backdoor open. User responsibility is crucial to cloud security. As one would never lock their car with a bike lock, so should one not make their password “123456password”.
Good hackers will already know your birthday, the street you grew up on, and your sister’s middle name. Pick a password that includes numbers, capital letters, symbols, and non-repeating and non-sequential words. Avoid using your “batman” password on all of your accounts online and never give out your password. Once you start good data security practices, your cloud security can work to its full potential. But how do you know if your cloud is the safest cloud?
Who Runs this Cloud? Can I Trust Them?
Cloud providers differ, near and far. Just as if somebody were to ask you where you bought your new shoes and you say online, you really haven’t told them where exactly you bought your shoes from. Was it from Amazon, Zappos, Nike? Saying you use “the cloud” is just as vague of a response. So who can you trust with your cloud computing needs?
A great example of cloud done right is Switch’s superNAP. The superNAP is one of the world’s largest data centers that run cloud computing services for the US government, Google, eBay, Bravo (yes – we use the superNAP too!), and other Fortune 100 companies. These companies and our government entrust their data to the superNAP because it is among the most secure in the world. The superNAP earned the Tier IV Gold status, the highest certification level in the data storage industry, awarded by The Uptime Institute.
“Tier IV Gold means the facility has the highest levels of redundancy and efficiency to counter the risks that lead to data center outages — a power failure or careless employee, for example. Those measures include generators, backup fuel supplies, batteries and remote power panels. That’s in addition to security systems that include rotating keys, souped-up AC units and a roof that can withstand winds of up to 200 mph.” – VegasINC.com
What Does This Mean to You?
Cloud computing can and should be safe. It is up to small businesses to educate themselves in this emerging technology and pay attention to their providers. Look for cloud providers that have proven track records of running 24/7, with safety nets against online and physical threats. Cloud security, like any other security system, cannot be 100% guaranteed but with the ever-changing landscape of online security, trust that cloud security will be improving right along with it.
Bravo’s software operates entirely in the Cloud, unlike any other pawn software provider. This enables Bravo to release automatic updates every 4 to 6 weeks, giving you the most up to date and current software on the market.
Find out more about what all the Cloud can entitle you to by contacting a Bravo representative at 888-407-6287.