More and more businesses are moving their IT infrastructure into the cloud, as the benefits of this third party, service-based model over outright ownership become increasingly apparent. The one question mark over cloud hosting is security. With cybercrime increasing and becoming more sophisticated year on year, isn’t cloud hosting akin to laying out your assets in public for hackers to plunder at will?
This article explains why managed hosting offsite is actually more secure than keeping it in-house.
Cloud hosting offers significant benefits in terms of cost, convenience and reliability. As a service-based model, it saves the capital outlay of buying the servers and software you need, as well as the cost of creating a suitable environment for keeping those assets cool and dry, the cost of maintenance and repair, and the cost of replacement as they become obsolete.
This makes cloud hosting particularly beneficial to start-ups, who don’t have to worry about large capital outlays up front, nor the cost of scaling as the business grows.
Hosted IT doesn’t just save these costs but delivers a better standard of service across the board. Servers are housed in purpose-built data centres, software is updated and backed up without fail and upgraded to the latest iteration as soon as it becomes available. There is no wasted capacity, nor lack of capacity.
Hosting your IT in the cloud means it is available from anywhere, so employees can work remotely, share and access files in their own time on their own devices and not have the worry of losing everything if their computer crashes, gets lost or stolen.
The reliability of your IT increases too. The systems you use are monitored every second of every day, so issues are fixed before they become a problem, thus saving damaging and costly down time.
When considering IT security, the first threat that springs to mind these days is cybercrime. But that’s not the only threat to physical IT systems kept in-house. With physical assets on-site, fire, flood and theft pose a threat. Hosting your IT off-site ensures that whatever disasters may befall your physical environment, your systems will remain working and available.
But the security threat concerning most businesses today comes from criminal hacks, such as phishing, malware and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.
Employees are your achilles heel. Carelessness with devices is, unfortunately, a very human trait and one that can open the door to all sorts of cyber attacks. With secure hosting in the cloud, however, the threat is mitigated because each device becomes merely a key to the vault, rather than the vault itself. Provided you protect those keys with secure passwords and two-factor authorisation (where a digital code is sent to a registered device as an additional layer of security at login), a laptop left on the train cannot be used to access your data.
Malware and virus attacks are mitigated by keeping your software up to date. This is a given with managed hosting but not so much among businesses that manage their own hosting. Further protection is afforded by robust firewalls, network partitioning and the latest antivirus software.
DDoS attacks are the biggest concern for businesses that rely on their website for delivering services to customers; for example, banks and e-commerce business. Criminals seek to bring the website down by bombarding it with traffic, denying the service to customers and costing the business huge sums of money. They then demand a ransom to call off the attack.
Few businesses have the resources to defend themselves individually against DDoS attacks – it takes a vast network of linked web servers – but through managed hosting with Origo you can access the most effective DDoS protection system in the world, Cloudflare. Cloudflare’s network covers over 13 million internet properties in 150 countries and, at 42Tb, is 15 times bigger than the biggest DDoS attack ever recorded.
When it comes to securing your IT, it is a case of ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. Managed hosting gives you a much higher level of security than any individual business could achieve by bringing your systems within the protection of the crowd, while keeping your data private behind your own unique pass keys.
Rather than worry about the security of cloud hosting, it’s those who choose to remain outside the cloud who are most at risk.