There is little doubt at this point that Cloud Computing is the future of data storage. Nearly every software company in the world includes some aspect of the cloud in their new offerings, including many of the Microsoft products we have been featuring over the last year (Navision, Great Plains, etc.). But as use of the cloud expands, so do the inevitable questions about information security.
On the one hand, security concerns are completely understandable, given the seemingly virtual nature of the cloud. Yet, like everything else in the computing world, the cloud is rooted in a real world hardware infrastructure; it only seems virtual. And that hardware has some of the best security features in the world.
Here are just a few of the things keeping your information safe:
Paradoxically, one of the chief of concerns for cloud security is protecting the hardware infrastructure from physical damage, and one of the most likely culprits for causing this damage is weather. Microsoft data centers are custom built from the ground up and strategically located around the globe to protect against natural disasters. They also include exceptional protective measure, such as seismic-braced racks for areas likely to experience earthquakes, and fire prevention and extinguishing systems for all data centers. No location is 100% safe from natural disasters, but Microsoft data centers have some of the most advanced preventive measures in place.
The other obvious security concern for data centers is unauthorized access by terrorists or criminals. In order to safeguard your information, data center access is restricted 24 hours a day, seven days a week by job function, so only those employees who need to can access your information. This restriction is achieved through a variety of measures, from high tech options like biometric scanners and smart cards to low-tech like on-premises security guards and continuous video surveillance. All told, the layers of protection create an environment that is safe, secure, and entirely free of unauthorized access.
The third security concern weighing on most of your minds is whether your information is secure during the transmission phase. This is, admittedly, the most vulnerable part of the cloud experience, and there are certainly lots of stories floating around about hackers scampering away with millions of dollars in vital information. It’s important to remember, though, that this is not a concern only for cloud computing, but for the internet environment as a whole, and that Microsoft is able to provide the same safe and secure internet protections you’ve come to expect from them over the years. One of the key ways Microsoft protects its users is through a dedicated team of security advisors for the cloud environment, called the Online Services Security and Compliance team (OSSC), which focuses on maintaining the cloud infrastructure Information Security Program. Additionally, Microsoft implements the Security Development Lifecycle with all their products, which include (among other things): encrypting sensitive data while in transit, at rest, or both; using access control lists (ACLs) in combination with identity authentication mechanisms; and disclosing privacy mechanisms to organizational customers to help create a web of security for users.
So, next time you start to worry about how secure your data is in the cloud take a moment to consider how your on-premises security stacks up against the layers of protection provided at a Microsoft data center. Your security is extremely important and Microsoft offers the latest security measures to ensure you are as protected as possible.
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