What are the Main Risks of Cloud Computing?
The biggest risk of cloud computing is just that – the fact that it is cloud computing. The cloud has some great benefits but there are misconceptions about what the cloud actually is. To many, the cloud is an intangible place where wizards conjure invincible systems out of thin air. Instead, the cloud is in fact just a computer/server sitting in a data centre; someone’s basement; or the back office of an IT shop where they are selling pieces off and calling it the cloud. Admittedly it is slightly more complicated than that and in most instances, the equipment that you will have a piece of is much better than you would afford with in-house configurations but it is essentially just that.
Many seem to simply ignore the risks in cloud computing. The first major risk is that you essentially lose control of the environment when you move systems to the cloud, you don’t know who has access to the area or the physical platforms and you don’t know them personally in most instances. You could be told the server is in Australia but it could be sitting in the Philippines or Brazil and unless you have physical access most people won’t know how to validate the location. Location can be a big one for many businesses as you will have compliance requirements that are legislated for you to adhere too. If you are required to have all your data in Australia for privacy reasons, you need to know where your data is all the time. The best bet to ensure you know where your data is when using the cloud is to make sure that the provider is reputable or at least one that you know well and have confidence in.
The second risk of cloud computing is that lack of control – how can you ensure the physical security of your devices if you have no control? What about patch and vulnerability management if you are getting platform or software as a service from your provider? Do they ensure your systems are up to date and as secure as they can be? No systems are 100% secure; there is no silver bullet, but you need to know what they do for you and what responsibilities you have to keep your systems safe. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re on the cloud your security will be looked after, too. In fact for most cases many platforms state that security is the sole responsibility of the customer, not the platform provider.
In saying all of that the cloud can be, in some scenarios, the perfect solution for customers, depending on workforce mobility, costs and usability. We just need to ensure that security is considered in the signup/migration process, not something that is considered after your systems have been breached.
At Davichi we work with market-leading vendors to ensure we are providing the best possible options for your business. Before recommending any solution, we work closely with you to understand your IT environment, business drivers, current capabilities, limitations and budget.