Business Cloud News

Boxing glovesIt goes without saying that there has been an increasing shift towards remote working in the past few years. Whether this is recession driven, or businesses are just becoming more flexible as technology moves on, there is no doubt that remote working has grown – and with it the demand for an ever more secure cloud-based software solution.

Cloud software allows businesses agility, whilst lowering costs, but businesses need to know that their access is secure. The question is: Public or Private Cloud?

What’s the difference?

A Public Cloud is based on a standard cloud computing model where services, applications and storage are made available to users over the internet as a service in its own right. There are many types of Public Cloud, the most common being Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) platforms. These tend to be suitable for companies that have fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome, or are looking to outsource part of their organisational IT requirements, allowing a simple “plug in and play” approach.

Private Clouds consist of cloud infrastructure that is designed solely for the use of a single organisation. This can be managed either internally or hosted by a third party externally and they offer more scope for advanced security. They offer stand-alone solutions in their own right and they must comply with strict regulations. Businesses who choose a Private Cloud install their own server and storage hardware, whilst keeping the flexibility of shifting workloads among servers.

There is also the Hybrid Cloud option, popular with the e-commerce industry because it offers the best of both worlds at the order processing and transactional front-end stages. It keeps the actual work of processing the orders in the Public Cloud resource, whilst transactions are kept in the Private Cloud.

Better safe than sorry

Several Public Cloud providers insist that there are several myths around the security of this type of cloud, as opposed to a Private Cloud. They insist that they sufficiently maintain the required levels of security and that in fact the extra software and technology involved in upping the level to a Private Cloud isn’t justified when it appears much the same to the end user.

However, when you consider the business continuity aspect, as well as the impact it can have on your organisation’s reputation if you are hacked, the Private Cloud appears to be the ever-increasingly popular option.

Someone else’s computer

Consider this: Do you know where your information is held right now? Most of us use a cloud platform, or we have had experience of one, and therefore we assume that we are using an accredited Public Cloud software, from a well-known name or company and therefore it should be fine, right? Wrong!

When you suddenly think of the cloud as someone else’s computer, where do you think your information stored in your public cloud is being held?

In my experience, people are far too complacent about data generally, and this applies to online data, data storage and other private information and passwords that we use on a daily basis.

This is even more true if you are inside an organisation, for example if you are a member of staff or an employee at a firm – and if you’re bringing in your own devices.

Just because you are working within a trusted firm, it doesn’t always mean the data you are using within a Public Cloud is being stored correctly. Nor does it mean it is constantly updated with the latest software – after all they are not as stringently monitored and regulated as Private Clouds. This can result in a rather complacent “it just works” mentality, and it is also tempting to make the security of our documents and data someone else’s problem – but this is something we all should be taking responsibility for.

The Security of Security

We all know the internet “just works”, but under the surface there is a whole different world of networks and connections. The truth is, all the time you are at the mercy of a public cloud, you will never be in control of your own individual security online.

Private Clouds offer an individual, allocated space online, which can only be accessed by authorised personnel. Not only does this lower the risk of external hacking from unwanted outsiders, but it also allows any staff working offsite to access the network  safely from a remote location. Services, such as Beaming’s ProtectNet, provide a totally separate space physically set apart from the Internet, which also allows devices on site to speak to each other without opening up the network to risk. It also lessens the risk of internal fraud, as there is a disincentive when activity can easily be traced.

So, when it comes to a Public versus a Private Cloud, it may seem as though networking a Private Cloud is more effort for not much more output, but this is simply not true. When it comes to protecting data, you can never be too careful and in the drive to make the issue of security something that everybody needs to be thinking about, then the Private Cloud wins for me every time!

By Sonia Blizzard, managing director, Beaming

  • Dr Shiyghan Emmanuel Navti October 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I believe that over time, security paradigms will evolve and catch up with the new world where consumers expect to have access to their data, wherever they are and on what ever device they choose. This in my view requires us to move away from the old ways of securing information to a paradigm based on zero trust. In other words, we need to assume that data, whether on a public or private cloud, can be accessed by unauthorized users. A much better approach is to think of ways of securing the data itself, so even if an unauthorised users gains access to it, it’s content is protected. The data should be meaningless to everyone else, except those authorised to use / view it.

  • Bamidele Danie October 28, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Interesting article, in my view, decisions regarding public or private have to start with and understanding of the objective that is to be achieved taking into account the value of the data to the individual or organisation. There are many variables that have to be considered beyond this eg, integration between what can be stored in the public vs private domains, who owns the data, how accessible will it be, what is the impact on user experience, what SLAs are available etc. However, when all is said and done, the digital world in which we live commands that things are done faster and in a more flexible manner, as such, the technologies, especially those relating to security, need to stay ahead of the curve. Think banks, when my great grand parents were alive, people used banks less and instead kept money in cookie jars, under mattresses and other hidden compartments within their houses. People used to be robbed at home a lot in those days, however, these days money is stored in banks, the banks have both physical and electronic security measure together with governance, standards, processes and procedures that all work together to provide a more secure environment than can ever be achieved or afforded by 99.99% of individuals and organisations. Storing money is more secure and access to the stored money is also more secure, that isn’t to say that banks are not hacked or robbed, but the frequency of occurrence is less so that was the case 5 years ago. There is a lot to be learned from this. In the end, it all balls down to the use cases being considered, the market concerned and the maturity of the technologies and also the organisations business drivers measured against their appetite for risk which I might add can be perceived and not real. We live in an evolving and maturing world, the blocks will forever continue to move and shift to adapt to conditions.

  • October 31, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Yeah, absolutely agreee. You may have struck the nail on the head completely

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