IT security will be a big priority to all businesses, large and small. Having the best system in place to allow you to securely save and share work is a key element to this. Particularly given the way that many businesses operate today.
One option is to store your data on inhouse servers and hardware. Whilst another is to make use of cloud storage solutions. Research by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) suggests that as many as 88% of businesses are making use of cloud services.
What is a cloud storage system?
A cloud storage system allows your business to store your files on remote servers. Your files can then be accessed from a network, the cloud (effectively the internet).
Your data and files are effectively held on servers. The servers will typically be owned by whichever cloud system you use (e.g. Google, Microsoft etc)
This reduces the need for businesses to rely on local storage hardware and infrastructure.
What are the benefits to cloud storage?
There are many benefits to cloud storage systems including:
- Ease of access to data
- Security can be aided by the use of encryption
- Ability to restore and back up data which can help business continuity
- Ability to collaborate easily across a group of people
- Avoid costs associated with repairing and maintaining in house hardware
- Extra storage space compared to your computer hard drive etc
What are the disadvantages to cloud storage?
As well as many advantages, it is also important to consider and weigh up the disadvantages to cloud storage before making the move. Some disadvantages include:
- There is a risk of data breach as your data is stored on external servers
- Internet access is required to access your files. If this goes down so will your file access
- Compliance requirements in some industries may make it more difficult for you to use cloud storage solutions
- Bandwidth limitations can mean you face higher charges if you exceed the limits put in place by some suppliers
What cloud storage systems are available?
There are many cloud storage systems available to businesses and individuals. Some of the big-name cloud storage solutions include:
Launched in 2007 Dropbox is a cloud storage system. Dropbox offers a platform for individuals as well as Dropbox for Business. It is probably this solution you will want to look into if you are considering switching to a cloud-based storage solution. It offers 3 levels – standard, advance and enterprise. Which you choose will depend on the size of your business.
Dropbox makes use of security procedures such as two-step authentication and using its own data centres. It also holds ISO 27001 certification amongst others.
OneDrive is backed by Microsoft. It also integrates with Windows directly. OneDrive for Business is an available option. Using with Microsoft SharePoint can enable you to share and collaborate as well.
One drive complies with ISO27001 and uses SSL encryption. Read this blog on SharePoint and OneDrive security from Microsoft.
As the name suggests, this is the Google cloud storage solution. It is integrated with Android devices. There is an option for Google Drive for Work.
Google Drive for Work is compliant with ISO 27001, SOC2 and SOC3. As well as providing multi factor authentication. They also use the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Find out more about security features here.
There are many useful guides and reviews to cloud storage systems available across the internet, so it is definitely worth doing your research to identify which solution best fits your business needs and infrastructure.
Is cloud storage secure?
Whichever storage solution that you choose for your business, security of your data will be at the top of your agenda when selecting a provider.
Some areas which you should consider before deciding on your provider include:
Encryption – Check what encryption process your provider of choice uses. Some suggest private encryption (also known as Zero knowledge) is the strongest form of encryption. This effectively means that you are the only one who has the key to your data. Your provider won’t store a copy of your password if they use zero knowledge encryption.
Data Centre management – You will want to know exactly who manages the data centre that your data is stored on. Some cloud solutions provide their own data centres and are therefore themselves responsible for the secure storage of your data. Whereas some providers outsource and use a third-party supplier. If this is the case, you will need to check who the third party is and what their cybersecurity processes and commitments are.
Data Centre Storage – In a bid to increase security some providers will store data across multiple servers. This means all of your important information is not stored in the same place.
Authentication – what level of authentication does your provider offer? Two factor authentications whereby you must identify yourself using 2 methods (often phone or email) is becoming commonplace but it is possible to put more layers of authentication in place.
Compliance – Check if your provider complies with ISO 27001 as this can give a good indication of their information security level. It is also important that your cloud storage solution enables you to meet the demands of GDPR. And don’t forget to factor in the impacts that Brexit may have on compliance.
Of course, choosing the correct cloud storage solution for your business will be a vital decision. Not only to make sure it works as hard as possible for your business, but most importantly to ensure that you maintain the security and integrity of your data. These are therefore just some factors you will want to factor into your decision, but it is very important to carry out sufficient research.
At Anthony Jones, cyber security is something that we think businesses of all sizes should take seriously. It must be a business issue, not confined to your IT department. We work hard with our customers to help them understand their risk exposure and put sufficient cyber insurance in place to protect them if the worst should happen. Get in touch with us today for more information of cyber insurance.