If the newspaper reports of rumours and opinions are correct, there seems to be increasing evidence that the well publicised hack of the infamous Ashley Madison customer data was allegedly an inside job. It apparently comes down to the form that the data was in – whole databases rather than extracts of data.
I hear a collective sigh of relief from the world’s cloud software providers where a major hack of this nature must be their worst nightmare.
The bottom line is nothing is 100% secure. The arms race between software security experts and hackers continues unabated. But even with huge opportunities for hackers to cause havoc, mischief and theft there is actually very low incidence of such break ins. Some of the better publicised ones relate to the hacking of corporate databases rather than cloud services.
So while we all have some worries about the security of our data we do need to compare the security risks associated with cloud services compared to having our data on our own servers.
Reputable cloud services have multiple layers of security. Most employ “white hat” security experts who attempt to find security holes that can be closed to ensure that the security is as tight as possible. Most utilise logging systems to track who has been accessing data. Data is hosted in data centres with armed guards, in hidden locations. This is a level of security that no individual small business cannot replicate. What data is sitting on your servers, laptops or tablets? How hard would it be to steal those? To me there is more confidence to be found in the high level of security that cloud companies have invested in.
That doesn’t mean that one should be complacent. You need to do your due diligence. You need to ask the right questions to ensure that your cloud provider has implemented appropriate security and has procedures to ensure that it is maintained. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for our “Going to the cloud checklist” to help you on the way.
At ATSA (Accountants’ Technology Showcase Australia) in Sydney on October 12-13 we have over 60 companies exhibiting. Many of whom are cloud providers. The advantages of cloud far outweigh the risks. You owe it to yourself to understand the opportunities. Register now for ATSA at http://www.smithink.com/events/atsa_2015 to ensure that you’re not falling behind in leveraging the latest technologies in your practice.