Technology myths can have annoyingly long lifespans. There are still some people who are, for example, hoarding their Bitcoins and hoping that it will come back even after last month's historic drop in value Many data center engineers still believe that the inside of data centers need to be frosty, when many chips now have acceptable temperature ranges of above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. There are still holdouts who believe that the cloud is inherently unsafe.
These different mistaken ideas all have the same root: They come from a fear of loss. Bitcoin investors fear losing the money they put into digital money, engineers are afraid of their servers melting down, and security professionals don't want to lose their jobs. It is the all-too-human response to change to buckle down and refuse to move forward when confronted with what could be a dangerous circumstance.
Thankfully, however, the fear of the insecure cloud is just a nightmare. It doesn't exist in the real world. The cloud is only as dangerous as any network would be in the hands of a chief information officer, according to noted cloud expert David Linthicum. The problem is not the cloud per se, but human errors and mistakes that wind up costing a lot of money to fix in the long run. This is why so many organizations have a hard time with the cloud – it's new and people, as they do with any new technology, overlook something.
But cloud infrastructure expertise is improving all of the time. More people are acquainted with how cloud systems need to operate than ever before, so there's little need for the fear that exists in many people's heads. We can all together move forward if we are able to simply take care of two important things: Our cubicle neighbors and our security protocols.
The culprits behind poor cloud security
The major cause of security breaches is human error. Really, as a programmer would say, this isn't so much a bug as it is a feature. People are naturally trusting and willing to lend a hand. We're altruists. This is great when people need to be carried out of burning buildings, but it's very bad when people ask for Wi-Fi passwords. When trusted organizations email us, enough of us will respond without a second thought that phishing scams exist to prey on this very act of kindness and generosity.
Sadly, humanity is plagued by a helpful nature. Your cubicle partners, employees, associates, peers and even visiting clients and guests could all violate the sanctity of your network. Offices with BYOD devices could bring have employees malware through their phones. Visiting salespeople could connect to your network and accidentally drop a worm on your system. These are common occurrences, not outside the realm of the day to day.
The way to defeat this problem doesn't have to do with avoiding any sort of cloud environment. Hybrid and private cloud infrastructure is actually very strong in this context. Having data across a couple of different cloud ecoystems is a good way to limit the amount of damage that can be done then a network is compromised. Encryption technology, which has long been pushed-for by the federal government, is an excellent way to keep these mistakes from having long-lasting effects on a network.
In fact, the best antidote to human error is strong policy. Making sure that cellphones are safe and that passwords are distributed sanely is the most important part of security. By doing this, companies can protect themselves and their new cloud infrastructure from danger in an effective, long-lasting way.