how safe is the cloud

Just How Safe is the Cloud?

Cloud computing provides instant access to data through an internet connection. Whether on a desktop, a tablet, or even a phone, data is available anytime, anywhere. For businesses, cloud computing reaps benefits such as scalable storage for databases, applications, and files while eliminating the need for a data center or IT support team.

Even technology experts reveal that there is no such thing as a completely safe cloud system. From security flaws to support issues, there are significant risks users take when migrating to the cloud.

Loss of Control

Someone else is looking after data that is transmitted, processed, and stored in the cloud. Data is stored off premises and all maintenance and monitoring is done by a third party provider.

Lack of Support

Many cloud-based services have inadequate customer service in ratio to customers. Imagine being unable to access your information, but being unable to get help right away. Waiting up to 48 hours for a response could ruin a business in a crisis situation.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy violations happen frequently enough in the cloud to cause concern among potential and current users. This is unacceptable when transmitting and storing sensitive information, specifically financial and health-related data.

Insider Breaches

A contractor for Vodaphone stole personal information from two million German customers. Victims were warned about possible email phishing attempts, as the thief had enough significant data on users to make these seem legitimate. With a cloud, this could be worse as administrative access enables an attacker to steal, and even destroy the cloud, in a matter of minutes.

Cyberattacks

With recent cyberattacks, such as the hacking of Apple’s iCloud, businesses are right to be concerned. Any time people data is stored on the internet, there is a risk for cyberattack. This is especially problematic with cloud computing, where all types of users on the same cloud system store extensive amounts of data. The fear of cloud computing is that data is always at risk. Hackers are advancing as fast as the technology.

If the above concerns make cloud computing an unacceptable risk, consider a different approach. Businesses can get all of the benefits of saving to the cloud but in a more secure and private solution with MyWorkDrive.com.

apple icloud hack

Apple iCloud Hack

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned U.S. Businesses in early October that hackers it believes to be backed by the Chinese government have recently launched attacks on U.S. Companies.

Days later, Apple’s iCloud storage service China was attacked by hackers trying to steal user credentials. Greatfire.org, a Chinese web monitoring group, broke the news online and adds that it believes that Beijing’s Cyberspace Administration of China is behind the campaign.

Using what is known as a man in the middle attack to intercept user data. This is when the attacker intercepts messages and then retransmits them, substituting his own key for the requested one, so that the two original parties still appear to be communicating with each other. Earlier in the day, Google and Yahoo faced similar attacks.

The attack coincided with the release of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China. Apple added new security measures to its latest phones, designed to limit government and law enforcement surveillance of users.

Ironically, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology accused Apple’s iPhone of posing a threat to China’s national security and delayed the release. Bowing to government pressure, Apple’s iCloud data storage was shifted to China Telecom, which was the target of the attack.

Greatfire.org explains that since the attacks appear to originate from “deep within the Chinese domestic Internet backbone” data interception would not have gone unnoticed by Chinese Internet providers.

The timing of the hack could be related to tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens taking to the streets seeking freedom from the mainland Chinese government. Chinese authorities could gain access to photos and data stored on iCloud related to the Hong Kong protests.

This operation does not just affect China, but for Internet users everywhere in the world. In December, news emerged that the Cyberspace Administration of China was now in charge of China Internet Network Information Centre; the authority that issues digital certificates to Web sites here. Web browsers all over the world are now trusting the Chinese government to tell it which sites are genuine.

Foreign companies are bending over backwards to comply in exchange for market access. These attacks are these companies paying the price for that privilege.

Policies mandate that vendors file sensitive IP, such as source code, with the Chinese government. While foreign entities are hesitant to adhere to these policies, the potential for impressive profits in China makes compliance tempting. And to the extent that they do comply, experts say, the companies’ hardware and software become vulnerable to Chinese hackers who could obtain those keys.

Incidentally, Apple posted the biggest quarterly profits in its history thanks partly to booming sales of the iPhone 6 in China, revealing that it sold more iPhones in China than in the US in the final quarter of 2014.