How Cloud Computing Makes Your Business More Secure

May 12, 2015 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

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The growth of cloud computing introduces dozens of advantages for corporations and SMBs alike. But as data moves out of corporate networks into cloud-based environments, it's no surprise that organizations might have concerns about protecting corporate and client data. In actuality, though, cloud computing can makes the entire business, and not just its data, more secure.

Data Security
Most companies struggle to keep their networks secure against hackers. There is a constant series of new threats and new types of malware to guard against. Keeping track of all servers and ensuring that they're at the latest patch level is difficult for most companies. In a cloud computing environment, the cloud provider's IT support includes handling these aspects. The SLA with the cloud provider will clearly state the IT security responsibilities of the vendor and the customer, ensuring that compliance requirements are handled appropriately.

Another aspect of data security benefited by deployment in the cloud is data recovery. The IT services of a cloud provider include data backups as well as storage of data backups at a secure location. Cloud providers are able to provide well-managed backup services that are scheduled and properly monitored. If there is a need to restore data, whether for disaster recovery or other purposes, a cloud provider has a process in place to locate the necessary backup and retrieve and restore it.

Application Security
Keeping an accurate inventory of which applications are deployed to which servers is difficult for most companies. When companies need to roll out an additional server, even as a clone of an existing box, it's often hard to know what products need to be deployed and which specific versions they require. When working with a cloud provider, the servers are well defined. Cloud providers offer virtual machines in standard configurations, so the base operating environment is known.

Because cloud providers are able to create virtual machines quickly on demand and provide a highly redundant environment, there's limited impact on applications if a server goes down. The functions are easily and quickly transferred to a new server. This ability to grow is important not only for disaster recovery but also for providing additional capacity on an as-needed basis. Applications are able to scale to handle periods of peak demand.

Operational Security
Maintaining a backup data center is necessary if companies want to be able to continue business during a crisis (natural or man-made disaster) that shuts down the normal location. Cloud computing providers maintain multiple locations. Even if a company's business location is prone to weather or other events, the company can choose to locate their main data center in a location that has a low risk of disasters. If there is an incident at the data center, the service level agreement with the IT services provider will include relocating services to an alternate site maintained by that provider.

In addition, because data and applications in the cloud are available everywhere, if a disaster prevents staff from reaching their usual office location, they are still able to access applications and work from wherever they are, allowing the business to remain in operation.

Enhanced Disaster Recovery Preparedness
Disaster recovery planning is difficult for companies to get right. Covering all scenarios is complicated and testing the plan to make sure it will work is a challenge. Working with an IT services provider and cloud computing can help companies address these issues and enhance the overall security of the business operations.