When having your website or company information hosted by a third party on the cloud, this data will be stored on a virtual cloud server, as opposed to a standard server in a physical location. Cloud computing comes with numerous advantages, but there are also several disadvantages to keep in mind. When using cloud servers, you’ll also want to utilize several tips to keep your information secure. Here’s an in-depth guide to the pros and cons of cloud servers and how to keep them secure.
Advantages of Cloud Servers
Using cloud computing for your business comes with many benefits. Most of these benefits originate from the usage of cloud servers. The primary advantage of cloud servers, as opposed to physical servers, is that they greatly reduce costs that would typically be spent on hardware infrastructure, as they host everything in a virtual setting. These servers also receive all of the standard benefits associated with cloud computing, such as greater speed, stability and security.
Cloud servers don’t suffer from standard hardware server issues, which is why businesses don’t have to spend a large amount of their budget on server maintenance and repair. Server software can be fully modified to the specific needs of each business, which is not usually available with other server options. It’s also important to note that any software issues are isolated to your particular cloud computing environment. In general, cloud servers are much more efficient than standard servers in regards to their economical viability.
If you pay a similar price for a virtual server than you would with a standard server, your server would be much faster and have more resources at its disposal. Cloud hosting will allow a businesses’ website to run faster than a traditional server of the same price. Cloud servers are also able to scale extremely well. Upgrades can be added quickly and efficiently, including everything from CPU and memory to disk space. Though these benefits might push you towards cloud servers, take a look at the cons before making any final decision.
Possibility of Extensive Downtime
While cloud servers come with numerous advantages over their hardware counterparts, there are also several disadvantages that may come into play. For instance, downtime with cloud servers can be very frustrating. Despite the amount of security used, downtime cannot be avoided entirely, though most cloud providers guarantee a very low downtime percentage. Because access to cloud servers depends on Internet access, there can be a myriad of reasons as to why your website is unable to be accessed for a certain period of time when hosted on a cloud server.
There are even instances where downtime can occur frequently until a known problem is identified and eliminated, which can take time. As such, it’s essential that you make a determination on how long your services can go down in a year without losing too much business. One of the only ways to reduce downtime is by making a service agreement with your provider that guarantees up-time in excess of 99.50 percent of the time. This equals less than two days of downtime per year.
Vulnerability to Attacks and Security Risks
Cloud servers are also somewhat vulnerable to attacks. Due to their dependence on the Internet, every aspect of these servers can be accessed via the Internet. While there are a number of fantastic security solutions that mitigate most of these issues, security breaches can still occur. There are several methods of boosting cloud server security and minimizing risks that will be discussed later on.
Depending on your business, there’s also a small chance that the breach can be so large that business data is deleted, and cannot be recovered, or that personal user information from customers could be compromised and leaked. These servers also don’t allow as much control as some companies believe. For instance, control of applications, services and data are typically allowed, but control of back-end infrastructure isn’t available.
Minimizing Security Risks
As cloud servers come with their fair share of issues, especially when it comes to security, there are a lot of things that you should do to keep your cloud servers secure. Minimizing security risks goes a long way in safeguarding your stored data from being stolen or tampered with. Make sure to identify who has access to each service available with the servers. Limit data access as much as possible, so as to protect your servers from large breaches. Prepare for security issues by protecting any assets that are stored in the cloud. You may also want to add intelligence to network protection.
Reducing Frequency of Cloud Attacks
Reducing the amount of cloud attacks that occur in the first place can be done by correlating any real-time security alerts with a global security intelligence business. You can also automate cloud server security with IT compliance controls and discover any rogue security threats with the usage of audits. Make sure to authenticate the identities of anything that attempts to access your servers. When designing security operations for these servers, it’s essential that you incorporate strategies revolving around prevention and response into these operations, so as to be able to react quickly when an attack is occurring.
Data encryption is important for every piece of data stored in these servers. Find out which data center your info is being stored at and make sure that they are wholly dedicated towards security of this information through the usage of such services as firewalls, intrusion detection and anti virus software. If you would like to test the security of your data, consider hiring an ethical hacker to throw attacks at your system, which will identify if your security holds.
Overall, it’s up to you and your business to take a look at your specific needs in order to ascertain if cloud servers are right for you. If you purchase clouds servers, making use of the aforementioned tips should keep your servers as secure as possible.