It's no secret: cyber-attacks are on the rise, and businesses are bearing the brunt of the cost. In 2015, the British Insurance Company Lloyd's estimated that cyber-attacks were costing businesses as much as $400 billion per year. To put that in perspective, that's more than the annual revenues of the film industry, the health supplement industry, and the sports industry combined.
But if those numbers are shock you, you ain't seen nothing yet. According to projections by Juniper Research, the total cost of cyber-crime is expected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2019. Between 2013 and 2015, the total cost of cyber-attacks tripled, so if current trends continue, the total cost of cyber-crime could easily quadruple by decade's end.
As a business, cyber-security is obviously a pressing concern. With cyber crime constantly on the rise and hackers always inventing new ways to break down your defenses, you must be constantly vigilant to protect your systems and data.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the ways that cloud hosting can keep you safe from cyber attacks. While some business owners express skepticism about cloud security, the fact remains that cloud servers can keep you safe in ways that aren't possible with local servers. The following are just some of many ways the cloud can protect you from cyber-attacks and other breaches that may cost your business money.
1) Easier monitoring
Security always starts with monitoring. Before you can respond to a threat, you need to know that one has occurred. Ideally, you want to be able to detect (and prevent) threats before they occur at all.
The cloud provides obvious benefits when it comes to monitoring your servers.
First, the cloud is centralized. Traditional desktops are installed on PC hardware, which makes monitoring difficult. Employees may install VPNs, proxies or applications that subvert your ability to monitor their activity. With cloud desktops, on the other hand, all of your mission-critical applications are located on a centralized server that can be monitored no matter what an employee does on their PC. This gives you a vastly superior ability to detect threats 'before they happen.'
Second, cloud hosting may come with monitoring services included. For example, Iron Orbit, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, includes security monitoring and maintenance services with all hosted solutions. This relieves you of the burden of doing monitoring in-house.
2) Faster Incident Response
Cloud hosting lets you respond to security breaches must faster in the event they do occur.
Again, this comes down to centralized servers. With local systems, a security breach may initially affect only one PC or internet-accessible device, eventually spreading to other devices on your network. This means you may not know a breach has occurred until it is too late. With cloud systems, on the other hand, any breach that occurs anywhere on the network can be detected immediately, regardless of who was logged in when it happened. As a result, you can respond to attacks far more quickly than would be possible on a local server.
3) Faster Security Patching And Upgrades
Security patching and upgrades include all the front-line defenses that keep you safe from attacks: firewalls, VPNs, anti-virus and anti-malware apps, etc.
On a traditional PC, these updates need to be done manually. Although Windows provides the option of 'automatic' updates for its anti-virus software, this usually requires the approval of the end-user (who may ignore it out of negligence). Further, to be truly protected on a local server, you need much more than just Windows security software—and some of the other security software developers don't offer automatic updates.
Cloud hosting eliminates all these issues by giving you the option of automating security patching and upgrades. Your cloud provider may provide the option to install all patches and upgrades automatically—in which case, the upgrades will be done on a regular schedule whenever a new patch or update is released, without any downtime.
4) Multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is a security protocol that makes it much harder to 'crack' a server or user account. Instead of simply entering a username and password, you will be required to prove your identity in some way; typically by providing confirmation by phone.
While multi-factor authentication is standard on cloud servers, it has been slow to catch on with local systems. Most of the time, if a hacker can access your local server, all they need is to crack a username and password to access all your files. With cloud servers supporting multi-factor authentication, it is much harder for criminals to do this.
5) Superior physical security
One of the biggest benefits of cloud hosting is better physical security.
When most people think of cyber-attacks, they usually imagine clever hackers cracking codes on the internet. But the fact is that physically breaking in and stealing computers from your office is a major way that hackers can access your systems and data—not to mention some very expensive hardware.
The cloud eliminates this risk almost completely. Cloud servers are housed in massive data centers that are guarded by armed security teams as well as physical, environmental and operational security systems. This makes it nearly impossible for criminals to break in and steal hardware. And in the event that they do, the extensive security monitoring technology in place means that they are much more likely to be caught.
6) Superior backup and disaster recovery
Last but not least, the cloud can protect you from cyber-attacks by mitigating the risk when attacks do occur.
This is comes from the cloud's vastly superior backup and disaster recovery features. On local systems, you are never completely guaranteed to be able to backup lost data. Although most Windows PCs offer backup 'restoration points,' these won't help if the computer is physically damaged, or suffers a truly crippling system failure. As a result, with local systems, you need to backup your data regularly on an external storage device—this is extremely time consuming, and unless you do it every day, you won't be able to restore your systems to a very recent state. And of course, the disks or USB drives you backup your system on may themselves become lost or damaged—in which case, no backup is possible whatsoever.
Cloud servers provide the perfect fix. The best cloud servers are hosted in geographically separate data centers, with backup being done constantly, sending critical data to storage in multiple locations. This means that even if there is a massive incident at one data center, you'll be able to recover your systems and data from the backup files at another.
The bottom line?
Cloud hosting provides rock-solid front-line and back-end defenses against cyber attacks. With streamlined monitoring and incident response, automated security patching, multi-factor authentication, and physical security, the cloud provides at least 5 'lines of defense' against cyber criminals. And, with the cloud's unbeatable backup and disaster recovery, you can always get back on your feet again in the event of a worst-case scenario.
If you want to keep your business safe from cyber criminals, the cloud is your friend.
Click here to learn how you can make your IT infrastructure faster, more reliable, and more secure, with Iron Orbit's cloud hosting solutions.