Cloud computing platforms are an increasingly popular way to deploy data and provide rapid access to dynamic resources. There’s been an increase in demand for cloud infrastructure as millions of Americans use more online services.

According to the Cloud Adoption in 2020 report by tech learning company, O’Reilly, 88% of organizations are already using cloud infrastructure, with 45% expecting to move three quarters or more of their applications to the cloud over the next twelve months.

But the cloud’s dual ability to hold and access expansive amounts of data is both a blessing and a curse.

While one side of the cloud is beneficial, storing our pictures, credit card numbers and addresses, the other side can be damaging. Since the cloud floats far from our in-house infrastructure, the data within has become an attractive target for cybercriminals.

When the Cloud Gets Stormy

Security threats have become more of a problem since Covid-19’s shelter-at-home policies have forced most workers out of the office. The economic research firm IDC warns that the sudden and unexpected surge of employees working from home is increasing businesses' exposure to cyber threats. With most of the country now using their home wi-fi instead of their company’s secure networks, businesses' risk for data breaches has gone up.

Employees using easily guessable passwords like “password123” is one of the reasons for data breaches, as well as vulnerabilities that a vendor fails to patch.

According to security software company McAfee:

1 in 4 companies using public cloud services have experienced data theft by a malicious actor. An additional 1 in 5 has experienced an advanced attack against their public cloud infrastructure. In the same study, 83% of organizations indicated that they store sensitive information in the cloud.

The more employees work from home, the greater the possibility of public cloud breaches due to compromised credentials. According to the Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, 80% of cloud-based attacks are in the form of stolen credentials. Networks at home are not as secure as networks in the office. If just a single device on a shared home network is infected or if the router is insecure, then the chance of compromised credentials increases.

According to Gallup, 63% of U.S. employees have been working from home since the onset of the pandemic. The staggering number raises the threat of data breaches, and companies must be even more vigilant in providing security to their customers.

When a customer’s sensitive information is stolen, trust in a company is also taken away. A 2018 research study by Oxford Economics shows that only 8% of consumers trust businesses to keep their personal information safe. The research also shows that while 80% of organizations surveyed have strong protections in place for their own financial data, only 33% of these companies have the same kind of protections in place for consumers’ financial information.

Consumers want protection guarantees. A 2020 survey by data protection provider Arcserve reveals 9 out of 10 consumers consider the trustworthiness of a company before making a purchase, with 59% avoiding doing business with a company whose security has been compromised in the past year. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they would switch over to a competitor if a business couldn’t restore their systems and applications within 3 days of a cyberattack.

As we move toward an uncertain near future, customers will rely more on a company’s high-tech capabilities to reduce risks of data breach and improve security.

Sunshine Through the Cloud

Computers sitting on clouds.

Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

Despite the concern over cyber threats, the cloud has become a safety net for organizations to rely on during the pandemic.

When Hugh Connerty, the co-chairman of a restaurant franchise, needed to notify all 5,000 of his employees of the state financial assistance programs they could use during the coronavirus shutdown, he turned to emergency communications startup, AlertMedia, for help. AlertMedia used its secure cloud-based communications software to send a mass text to all the employees. Connerty’s regular processes would not have been able to contact his thousands of restaurant workers as efficiently or securely.

The irony of using the cloud is that while there are fears of data breaches, the cloud’s very nature allows for secure transparency.

According to Myles Brown, Senior Cloud and DevOps Advisor for ExitCertified, “one of the biggest differences between traditional and modern networking security is going from physical boxes to a virtual networking situation.” He explains a security advantage of corporate data being on the cloud is traceability:

There’s always a nice audit trail of who did what and where and when. In the physical data center world, if someone were to plug something into a server, where’s the record of that? Maybe we caught it on camera, and maybe we didn’t.

It’s not just transparency for corporate data that’s at stake. Organizations that plan on not only retaining but growing their customer base have to invest in strong cloud infrastructure that maximizes security.

Tech giants are benefiting financially from expanding further into cloud infrastructure and subscription services. Amazon’s cloud division was responsible for over 77% of Amazon’s operating profits in the first quarter of 2020. In that same quarter, both Microsoft and Apple’s cloud revenue each rose to $13.3 billion, while Google Cloud’s revenue rose 52%.

And it’s not just tech giants benefiting from the cloud. SMB owners like Adam Taylor have strategized to build a robust online infrastructure. Taylor is co-founder and chief executive of PetShop, an online pet store. He says that because he had shifted to a cloud strategy, his company has been able to scale up and cope with the unprecedented demand Covid-19 has brought, having gone from shipping 1,000 orders a day to 4,000 orders a day. With the cloud, he’s able to order stock, pack and dispatch it quickly, and log all of his transactions securely.

The cloud has allowed millions of people around the world to shelter at home while keeping businesses afloat. With so much data on the cloud right now, organizations that keep that data secure will be the ones who thrive in our ever-expanding technological world.

Codazen and the Cloud

Codazen builds secure cloud computing platforms that provide impactful solutions to data protection. Wesley Moy, Senior Full-Stack Engineer, says, “prioritizing security for our applications gives Codazen and our users peace of mind and allows us to tackle other problems to accelerate our clients’ growth.” Our services allow customers to manage their business needs while being confident that data security is always top of mind.

This is an ongoing effort. We prioritize data breach prevention by creating multiple layers of protection. Our teams partner with companies that do security audits and we are responsive to patching security issues and averting emerging cyber threats.

Contact us to learn about how we can help you build cloud-based platforms that are private and secure.