Where to Start with IT Security
When a new technology involves a significant culture shift, there will always be some unease. The cloud is no exception. Is it secure? How can we control it? The arrival of cloud technology has resulted in such enormous, mystifying change that it has even been immortalised in film1, with actor Jason Segal proclaiming, ‘Nobody understands the cloud – it’s a mystery!’ And it remained a confusing topic for many years.
The Myths About Cloud and Security
Despite the mystery, such an important business opportunity could not be ignored for long. Opex (vs capex) has been increasingly embraced by organisations keen to innovate without risking big up-front investments. Off-premise offers too many cost and efficiency gains to ignore. Yet, the vague uneasiness continued, and a myth was born. Cloud was deemed somehow less secure than on-premise.
Physical Data Centre Security
Let’s think about this for a moment. In any on-premise environment, you are responsible for physical security, even if it isn’t within the IT budget. Most workplaces are surprisingly easy to infiltrate in broad daylight by someone with reasonable social skills and a bit of chutzpah. Unless you’re working in ASIO, physical security probably isn’t insurmountable for any determined raid.
Have you ever visited the data centre of a cloud-hosting organisation? To be fair, we can’t speak for all of them, only our own. We encourage customers to see for themselves the physical security measures we take to keep customer environments safe. This isn’t, after all, just our data centre; it acts as the data centre for large corporations and niche businesses, for financial firms and schools, for all sorts of organisations with every reason to care about security. Every data link to the outside world, every door, every air-conditioning vent is secured.
The Cyber-Crime Era
The big one, though, is cyber-security. 2017 was the worst year ever for cyber-crime, with attack figures more than doubling2. The widely reported attacks on the British NHS and German Deutsche Bank were just the tip of the ransomware iceberg. On average, 62% of organisations are being attacked at least weekly3. That’s health care providers and bicycle shops, kindergartens and transport departments. More than 70% of attacks target small and mid-sized companies4, so no business can assume they fly beneath the radar.
The impact on organisations, and on those they serve, is immense. In one UK hospital, a surgeon found himself without access to critical systems mid-way through an operation. Thanks to his skills, the patient survived. Cancer patients had blood tests unavailable, emergency departments had to work without patient history, and some were closed altogether. Businesses were unable to process transactions, continue production, or provide a service. Many never reopened.
A Higher Point of Secure
Cloud, with the right provider, starts from a higher point of security. Even the smallest business gets to benefit from the sort of top-tier infrastructure aimed at the banks, government departments and major corporations. In our own data centre, we look after all the layers, from links, desktop management and enterprise-grade HPE infrastructure through to managing perimeter firewalls. Whether you’re a flower shop or a bank, you’ll get some of the best security brains in the business focused on keeping your environment safe. Cloud offers skilled staff and quality equipment that may not be a possibility in-house.
That isn’t to say there aren’t other good reasons for businesses to keep some infrastructure in-house. The majority of businesses work with a blend of on- and off-premise, prompting the likes of HPE to invest heavily in hybrid infrastructure to make the mix work. Given the security advantages that as-a-service options can now boast, isn’t it time that we reframed the story and cast cloud if not as a redeemed hero, at least as a very trusty sidekick to the heroes of the IT department?
Time to access top-tier security with pay-as-you-go flexibility? Talk to our friendly cloud specialists.
1. Segal, Jason 2014, Sex Tape, Columbia Pictures
2. Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report, Online Trust Alliance 2018
3. IDC Custom Survey, March 2017
4. US National Cyber Security Alliance