Evernote: The Risks and Benefits of Cloud Computing
Online note-taking service Evernote recently experienced a security breach that persuaded the California-based company to instruct its 50 million users to reset their login passwords. In actuality, the company noticed suspicious activity on its servers and made the move to preemptively force their users to change passwords as a measure of precaution. Naturally, concerns about security and whether the cloud is a viable place for sensitive data abounded.
Although the threat of breaches are a part of cloud computing, Jonathan Feldman in his article Evernote Breach: What It Means to Enterprise IT, makes some valid points on the frivolousness of dismissing the cloud altogether when it comes to storing data. In fact, storing data, whether it's in the cloud or whether it's held privately is exposed to some level of risk. If that data isn't properly managed, then the level of risk varies.
From my own experience, I put a lot of trust in the cloud. Ultimately that decision is a measure of risk versus benefit. In the example of online banking, I accept that my banking information, which I consider to be highly sensitive, is being protected by my bank. It's my bank's job to communicate the measures they take to protect my data and it's a trade-off I'm willing to accept so that I can transact easily online. Similarly, if you consider the email provider Gmail, then you realize your faith is in the security team at Google. In this case, you're dealing with some of the world's best engineers and security experts who are continuously monitoring their networks and trying their best to protect your data from breaches. Can the same level of security and expertise be said for your own local data? Dave Girourad, who shares my opinion, talks about companies clinging on to the idea that the risks of the cloud outweigh the benefits in his article: The delusions that companies have about the cloud. He even goes as far as to say that companies who dismiss the cloud as a viable option are well, "insane".
Instead of asking the question on whether or not the cloud is a safe place for data, we should be asking a different question: How do we make the cloud a safer place? In fact, at Asigra, our cloud backup and recovery platform uses world class encryption technology that is certified by the National Institute of Standards & Technology, called NIST FIPS 140-2. This means, when you use our software, the data is protected and encrypted at both rest and in flight. The fact of the matter is we have the technology and the tools to ensure that our cloud data is protected. When looking at the risks and the benefits of the cloud, we have to start examining the benefits more while mitigating the risks. This means working with vendors and encouraging the advent of a more secure cloud infrastructure.