Cloud storage security should be a high ranking consideration when a business decides to move IT infrastructure to a cloud based model.
One of the primary benefits of the cloud is the freedom users have to access data across devices and geographic locations. However, in implementing a cloud based model, it is important to understand where your data is stored (geographically) as this can have an impact on the businesses cloud storage security.
Cloud Storage: Physical location is still important
When considering a provider for cloud services, it is important to understand that while a cloud service allows unparalleled access, a physical server still must exist to store data. For data that is of little commercial value, where data is stored is less important. However, when data is commercial or private in nature, the physical storage of data is important.
Why? Because, different geographic locations dictate the relevant legislation applicable to that data.
In Australia, data is protected by much stricter laws than other countries. This should be considered a good thing for businesses. However, an Australian cloud services provider may use an overseas data storage facility (potentially to save money). This means that a business’s commercially sensitive information is now held in another legislative jurisdiction – which means cloud security of that data could be breached.
To ensure Cloud security is maintained, business has a number of options;
- Ask their cloud service provider where data centres are physically located, to ensure data is maintained within an Australian jurisdiction.
- Build and maintain the cloud infrastructure – thus controlling Cloud security. This will give the highest level of control over business data.
- Maintain a hybrid solution whereby data is stored within business premises, but cloud software is utilised to connect the office across devices/locations.
Finally, the above considerations shouldn’t steer a business away from a cloud based IT strategy. Rather it should encourage business to query where data is stored to ensure a high level of cloud security. If data is stored physically in Australia, then Australian laws apply to that data, reducing the chance of data breach.
Public Cloud vs Private Cloud – What’s the Difference?
When deciding to migrate your IT infrastructure to a cloud based system you must consider whether you are going to establish a public cloud or private cloud environment. There are a few key reasons for choosing one over the other and we look at why you might select a private cloud option, rather than a public cloud option and vice versa.
Public Cloud Considerations
When we refer to the public cloud we are referring to public cloud providers such as Dropbox, Amazon, Onedrive etc. These service providers offer space for your files as well as potentially allowing you to access software across different devices, via the cloud. Many of these options offer free space, up to 2GB-10GB generally, and you can generally purchase more space if needed.
While this amount of space is usually suitable for personal use ( and assuming your are comfortable with your photos and documents being accessible by the cloud provider) you may wish to consider the appropriateness of utilising a public provider for your business. What is appropriate for personal use may not be suitable for business use.
It can be concerning to note that public cloud providers can and do review your files, this can be for marketing purposes or other reasons. While some users may be happy to share details with a cloud service provider, are you willing to bet your customers are happy for you to share their details with another company? In many industries, such as financial services, medical and legal, confidentiality plays an integral role in the profession and the use of public cloud services may be a breach, morally or legally, of this confidentiality.
Of course, there are benefits of public cloud services, such as being free/very cheap. The other important aspect of a public cloud option is the ease in which you can start using a public cloud service – simply sign-up and away you go.
Private Cloud For Business
If the obvious benefit of the public cloud is its relatively low cost or free subscription model why would any business look at a private cloud? The answer – Control. With a private cloud you control your data and no one else can access it. Your business gets to enjoy all of the benefits of cloud computing, such as 24/7 access to data, use across multiple devices, geographic access anywhere with an internet connection and scalability, without another business prying into yours and your customers details.
Unlike the public cloud however this option is not free – although it is probably comparable with a standard business server. A private cloud system must be set-up somewhere- this can be set-up on your premises if you desire, but generally the best place for a private cloud is a dedicated facility that hosts cloud services for businesses. These facilities are usually secure, temperature controlled and damage proof facilities that are designed to protect data.
Because of the set-up cost of a private cloud solution we suggest our clients review this as an option whenever they are considering upgrading their IT equipment.
Public Cloud vs Private Cloud – what’s the answer?
As outlined above the public cloud is easy to set-up and can be quite cost effective, whereas a private cloud option will ensure your data is secure and cannot be accessed by another business. These are two, of many, considerations when designing your Cloud infrastructure design for your business.
If you want more information about Cloud Services checkout our Cloud Services Page.
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