Security is often listed as one of the challenges to overcome with cloud computing. There can, though, be a number of security benefits, in particular when it comes to public cloud. This article looks at some of the security benefits of the public cloud computing model, covering storing files in the cloud and using cloud based software applications.
There are various benefits of storing files in the cloud, whether storing personal documents, business documents, photographs or video files. Within a business there may be important financial documents or confidential files that need to be stored somewhere, while individuals may have invaluable photographs of their children which they wish to store safely. If losing such files would prove catastrophic (either financially or personally) then there is no better place to store them than in a secure cloud environment. One of the security benefits here is that the loss of one server needn’t be a problem. Cloud hosting involves utilizing multiple servers, meaning that if one encounters problems there are others to take the load. Where clouds draw from multiple data centres, an entire data centre could conceivably be offline without the customer noticing any change to their service. Not only does this mean files will not be lost, but there won’t be a period of time that they are not accessible for either.
There is the potential for disaster where files are stored on personal devices that are redundant when stored in a cloud environment. This goes for those stored on laptops or personal computers, on external hard drives and on other devices such as USB drives. Where this is the case the device used for this storage can get damaged, be misplaces or even stolen. Where important security files are concerned, such as government documents, there is an increasing likelihood of theft, and it can be catastrophic. These possibilities are not an issue when stored in the cloud, meaning that as long as the correct security is put in place files will be safe, both from loss and from unauthorised persons gaining access.
Providers of cloud computing services will usually make automatic updates. Therefore, customers of these services, particularly software offerings, will benefit. Security updates will be included here, giving cloud based software a security benefits over off-the-shelf software packages.
One of the major advantages of any type of cloud computing service is scalability. With infinite computing resource available it means that additional resource can be utilised if necessary. If an organisation, for example, finds that they require more resource to support their needs then it is not a problem. The best thing about this is that resource that may not be required does not have to be paid for upfront; it is instead paid for on a usage basis. When more resource is utilised it is paid for at this stage and if it later becomes unrequired again, then it is no longer paid for.
Public cloud services are generally accessible at any time, from anywhere, as long as the user has an internet connection. While this isn’t always seen as a security benefit it is something that can protect organisations in some instances. Should an organisation suddenly need to access something via a cloud service, such as a piece of software or data stored in the cloud, then they can gain access from whichever destination they find themselves in.
There are numerous possible benefits to cloud computing. While sometimes seen as a disadvantage, in many instances security is one of these. Files stored in the cloud can be less at risk than those stored on other devices, while being able to access cloud based software from any computer has its benefits.
This guest post was written by Andrew Marshall on behalf of Interoute, provider of various cloud services.