First and foremost, anyone looking to store data in the cloud needs to appreciate that it is not secure – all of Edward Snowden’s snooping revelations that have been widely reported by the international media demonstrate just how widely both the NSA and GCHQ are monitoring information that was previously perceived to be securely-held. Snooping now occurs on such a widespread basis that we are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg – and as such, securely encrypting information using robust portable devices is absolutely essential.
Security concerns stretch far wider than the NSA and GCHQ and recent news reports that Chinese military officers have hacked into American firms with the intention of stealing commercially sensitive secrets illustrate the importance of ensuring that intellectual property, in particular, is protected at all times.
IP loss can have enormous consequences, particularly, for example, if your organization is in the midst of a competitive tender. Should internal information be compromised and accessed by a key competitor, this could result in the same tender being undercut, potentially without the organization even being made aware.
There is, unquestionably, a market for the cloud and we are seeing increased levels of adoption by both SMEs and large organizations within the UK, with cloud computing providing quick and easy access to information with minimal costs attached. However, I would never use the cloud to store my trade secrets and critical business information as there is no absolute guarantee as to who has access to this data.
I always store information that is important to me and my business’ operations on local, encrypted devices and make sure that a back-up is saved off premises in a trusted location. Taking this approach really is the only approach to assuring absolute data security.