Cloud data storage is more important than ever and has become one of the most highly adopted technologies within the workplace. More and more companies, as well as individuals, are turning to cloud-based storage solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud, particularly after the pandemic. The use of cloud storage means that files and documents can be accessed by anyone with whom the link is shared, anywhere and at any time, so long as there is an internet connection.
However, this increased adoption of cloud data storage also brings with it some questions in regard to the safety and security of the technology. Is cloud storage really more secure than an external hard drive? Let’s take a look at whether or not cloud storage is the right digital solution for you and understand more about any risks involved.
What Is The Cloud?
The cloud is a term which is used to describe a remote system which can both store and process data and is usually accessed through the internet. Cloud storage is reliant on the internet and the cloud in order to access storage space and processing power. This makes it much more efficient than using traditional methods, such as hard drive storage.
Over recent years, cloud storage has increased in popularity, particularly following the pandemic with people having to work more regularly from remote locations. It allows users to access their files from anywhere around the world, so long as you have an internet connection. Cloud storage also makes it easier to share files with others.
It is said that cloud storage provides users with more protection than external storage and hard drives. When data is stored in the cloud, unless you share the link with others, only you have access to the file.
How Does Cloud Storage Work?
Cloud storage uses remote servers in order to store data. This could be personal data, such as videos or images, or business data such as files and documents. Users will upload their data to said cloud storage servers through the use of an internet connection, where it is then saved on a physical server. In order to maintain availability, cloud providers often spread data to centres located around the world.
There are four different types of cloud storage:
Public cloud storage uses a model where business and organisation data is stored in a service provider’s data centre. Data within public cloud storage is spread across multiple regions and can often be available on pay-as-you-go data storage, or on a subscription basis.
Private cloud storage is where businesses use their own servers and data centres in order to store data within their own networks. Businesses can then deal with cloud storage providers so that they have dedicated servers and private connections which are not shared with other businesses. Private cloud storage solutions are typically used by users who need more control over their data, or who may have stringent security requirements and measures in place.
A hybrid cloud storage model uses a combination of private and public cloud storage. This form of storage allows businesses to decide which data it would like to store in which cloud type. It may be that businesses need to store data in order to meet compliance requirements, so this should be on a private cloud, Hybrid cloud models typically have a layer of organisation between private and public cloud, providing flexibility and giving businesses the chance to choose which they would prefer to use.
Multicloud storage is where businesses set up more than one cloud model from more than one cloud provider, whether this is public or private. Businesses might look to use a multicloud model if they need data to be stored within certain countries, if different teams need access or to meet data protection requirements. Multicloud storage offers businesses flexibility in the way that they store data, but more than hybrid storage does.
Are There Advantages Of Using The Cloud?
Cloud storage has many advantages for both individuals and businesses.
Cloud storage provides more protection against data breaches and cyber attacks than other options as it is regularly backed up and the data is stored securely off site. Cloud storage is also monitored daily for suspicious activity. By using cloud storage, you can protect your business against security risks and keep your information secured off-site within an encrypted format.
By using cloud storage, you can access your files and data from any device which has an internet connection. You needn’t worry about whether you have a Windows computer or laptop device with you, or need to remember to bring with you an external hard drive.
Cloud storage allows the safe sharing of files with others in the same service. It also makes it easier for one person to share files with as many people at once. This could be useful in circumstances where you might need to share a file or document with numerous people at the same time.
Lost File Recovery
Should something happen to your physical device which has your data on, cloud storage solutions mean that you can simply recover the original files that you need from the cloud servers.
The majority of cloud storage solutions are free, or are available on a more affordable monthly retainer. This means that cloud storage is a more cost effective solution than traditional storage solutions, such as external hard drive storage. You can also increase or decrease storage capacity based on your budgets and needs.
What Risks Are Associated With Cloud Storage?
Risks that are associated with cloud storage are dependent on which type of data is being stored. There are some common hazards which come with cloud storage, including:
Although data that is stored within the cloud is encrypted, there are still some ways in which attackers can bypass levels of encryption. This can be through a tactic called brute force attacks, where the attacker will try varying different password and login combinations, or by simply stealing login credentials and information. However, some companies encrypt their data as soon as it is uploaded to the cloud, so if access is attempted or stolen, then it can’t be revealed.
No Internet Connection
If you are using a cloud storage solution which requires an internet connection, then this isn’t always reliable. You may be unable to access your files at certain times if you’re not connected, or your internet goes down.
Although there aren’t that many risks associated with cloud data storage, there are some things to be aware of. Cloud attacks are on the increase and, if your storage is targeted, then you could incur serious damages. Another common type of attack is ransomware, where hackers will try to gain access to private files within the cloud, then keep hold of them if successful in an attempt to get a ransom payment. If you are a business using cloud data storage, then it’s important to include this within your cyber security plan. If you’re not sure what to include within this, consult with a cyber security services provider who can advise further.