According to the latest annual report The State of the Cloud1, 30% of companies use the public cloud (cloud services available through servers owned by third parties), 5% use the private cloud (cloud services under the ownership of the company), and 58% combine both technologies. Thus, only 7% of companies has not taken advantage of the cloud.
This high adoption to the cloud confirms the growth of an industry that at the end of 2015, according to tech consultancy Gartner, will globally reach a turnover of close to € 170,000 million.
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This data indicate that the cloud is no longer an option, but an obligation assumed by most companies in a digital context. Although this statement has a solid base, it is biased, because it basically considers the use of the cloud in large companies, and rarely takes into account the use of the cloud by small and medium enterprises.
The decision of adopting or not to the cloud by a SME can be driven by a logic of cost. But the great reluctance these companies have are doubts in respect to the security and privacy standards of this technology.
Control is not the same as security
In a context of increasing cyber crime, in which even Apple has suffered a security breach in its iCloud service, and where there is still a lack of knowledge with respect to a relatively new technology, the reservations of SMEs to the cloud are understandable and legitimate.
However, when thinking about taking the plunge into the cloud, a deeper analysis on its security is needed, to leave behind the idea that using the cloud is equivalent to not controlling a company’s information. Keep in mind, anyone could break into a company´s offices company and steal its servers.
It is essential to understand that control does not equal security. In fact, data on cyber attacks reveals exactly the opposite: keeping our information on our local server does not mean greater safety. According to the latest State of Cloud Security Report, by Alert Logic, a provider of security solutions for the cloud, companies that use the cloud suffer from an average of 27.8 attacks per year, while those with their data stored and accessible only in their own facilities receive 61.4.
Myths and legends about backups
Another misconception that promotes the refusal to adopt the cloud as a space in which a company can develop many of its daily activities (it’s not just about the storage function) is that, unlike a physical backup, it’s more likely to lose data when using the cloud. That’s wrong.
Quite often, SMEs do not have strong protocols for performing backups, a task that highly depends on a company’s organizational capacity and the availability of a specific employee. Instead, many cloud solutions do automatic backups, and store customer data across multiple servers, ensuring that even the most unexpected catastrophe can not wipe out all our information.
... It's the password, stupid!
Another main difference exists between the risks of the cloud and those that arise because of a password mismanagement. For example, the breach in Apple iCloud system, to which we previously referred to, had nothing to do with the invasion by force of a hacker in the cloud, but with accessing some user’s passwords, who were deprived of their privacy right.
In this sense, it is just as important to hire a cloud service that offers the best guarantees of security protection as choosing a strong password. It is advisable to avoid using the same password on multiple platforms, combine the use of letters, numbers and symbols, and avoid using data easily traceable because of its link to our personal lives, such as our birthday.
Encryption: a sample of solidity
In addition to its higher level of security and backups’ automation, there are many other advantages that belie the vulnerability of the cloud. A key one is encryption: the cipher system that cloud suppliers use to encode information and make it unintelligible to anyone who illegally accesses it.
Although there are solutions on the market to encrypt the information available on your own server, few SMEs have the knowledge or sufficient budget to use this security measure. Instead, the bulk of cloud solutions provide free and strong encryption standards, making again it safer to store information in the cloud that on a local server.
Tips for choosing a cloud services provider
When opting for the cloud, companies face these and other reservations about its safety. They also face a very diverse offer, which makes the decision process quite complicated. It is therefore important that companies start by studying the value of the information to be stored in the cloud, the legal implications that could arise from losing it, and determining if the company operates in a sector with regulatory constraints. For example, in many countries banks or health companies can not store their client’s information out of the country in which they operate.
For choosing a good cloud services provider it is very important to pay attention to the following:
- Is it a public or a private cloud solution? If it is public one, what security measures account for infrastructure? Surveillance, closed circuit video, etc...
- What kind of encryption does it provide?
- Does it incorporate tools to monitor access?
- What kind of authentication is used?
- Does it comply with the laws and standards of the sector or country in which it is based?
The solution that we offer at Signaturit is not only the fastest and most legal available to request and make electronic signatures, but we also provide a dashboard in the cloud. Our clients can access it at any time for checking the history of documents sent to sign. To this end, we employ bank-grade encryption standards, and offer different levels of access to different users, in order to control who can access specific information, edit it, and so on. In addition, we comply with European and US legislation on electronic signatures.
If you want to discover more benefits of our electronic signature solution for signing and manage signed documents in the cloud, you can download the whitepaper below.
This post is also available in Spanish.
- Benefits of the cloud: how the use of cloud services increases efficiency.
- What should companies do to prevent a cyber attack?
- What is Digital Identity?
1. The State of the Cloud - RightScale