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Debunking three common security myths of private cloud

Despite the performance and scalability advantages of private cloud being common knowledge in the technology industry, there are still some myths lingering - in particular, around its security capabilities - and it's about time these myths were debunked.
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Originally published by PCR Magazine

At the end of 2021 more than two-thirds of all enterprise infrastructure was cloud-based. What’s more, 81% of business leaders reported that they had a multi-cloud strategy in place or in the works. Many of these opt to use the private cloud for more sensitive workloads rather than solely relying on the public cloud. This is because a private cloud can be tailored to the goals and needs of a single organisation, as opposed to the off-the-shelf public cloud which is used by many different organisations on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

One of the main benefits of the private cloud is that only the organisation has access to their data, as it is encrypted and much more secure. This means more control, security and greater performance, along with the ability to comply with local business and government regulation. 

When considering the security advantages of the private cloud, it’s important to remember that there are three different types of private clouds, each with different capabilities: 

  • There is the virtual private cloud, a confined environment which is located within a public cloud – although the server is shared, the virtual logic ensures everything remains private.
  • The second is the hosted private cloud, where servers are not shared – instead, the provider configures the network and it is owned by a single organisation. 
  • The third is the managed private cloud – where the provider manages all aspects of the cloud for an organisation. 

Despite the security advantages of private cloud being common knowledge in the technology industry, there are still some myths lingering – in particular around its security capabilities – and it’s time these myths were debunked

Myth 1: The private cloud is more prone to cyber-attacks than on-premise storage 

The myth that the private cloud is more vulnerable to attacks than on-premise sites stems from the popular and misinformed idea that non-physical servers are less secure, but the reality is that cyberattacks and breaches can happen regardless of setup.

The public cloud could certainly expose you to more potential cyber-attacks as it is shared and security measures could be diminished. However, a well-designed cloud security strategy vastly reduces the risk of cyber-attacks, so that even with these risks, cloud computing is often more secure than on-premise computing. Organisations need to have the right detection and response solutions in place to respond to potential vulnerabilities and breaches. 

A private cloud though, can boost security. For example, it can enable remote workers to use technology such as virtual machines to make sure that employees fall under company protection, regardless of where they log in from. This is unlike an on-premise solution which is less agile and more vulnerable when employees log in remotely.

It’s also misconceived that data is less secure when stored on the cloud because more exposure means more risk, while on-premise infrastructure is safer as it’s situated physically closer to the end-user. This is not the case and in fact, on-premise storage is usually more vulnerable because it’s more expensive. Maintaining even moderate – usually insufficient – security with on-premise storage is costly because you must employ staff to continuously monitor data and ensure servers are constantly patched and updated in real time. When you use a private cloud provider on the other hand, all security patches and updates are maintained externally at a lower cost.

Myth 2: Private cloud security provides less flexibility 

While the tangibility of an on-premise site may seem appealing, it can be inflexible, limiting what you can use the cloud to do. Innovation and upgrades are costly and time-consuming due to the physical hardware involved and required to take infrastructure to the next level. This means staying up to date with trends and competitors becomes financially consuming. A private cloud solution, on the other hand, provides its organisation with access to the very latest security patches and features through a subscription-based model and can easily be configured to an organisation’s needs.

Myth 3: Private cloud security is hard and expensive to manage

Another misconception is that private cloud security can be a costly and burdensome task to manage and having an on-premise site provides greater convenience and visibility – which is why some organisations aren’t keen to migrate. In reality, private cloud storage can be less of a headache to manage than an on-premise site. This is because on-premise storage requires staff to maintain it as well as personalised security and compliance – a costly and difficult task thanks to a worsening digital skills shortage. Conversely, private cloud providers have dedicated security teams that train employees to understand the network, ensuring that your business can stay productive while the migration takes place, without the risk of downtime. 

Many organisations make the switch from public to private cloud because of its transparency with cost. Despite the many benefits of the public cloud, it can sometimes come with unexpected costs. For example, although putting data in isn’t a problem there are sometimes surprise costs associated with pulling data out. Moreover, with a private cloud comes the ability to incorporate bespoke and additional security features to meet business demands rather than the off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all model. 

All in all, to mitigate security risks and control costs, organisations must carefully evaluate their cloud options and develop robust security and compliance policies. This includes regularly monitoring resource allocations and conducting regular security assessments for potential vulnerabilities. By prioritising security and cost transparency, businesses can confidently leverage the power of the cloud while maintaining the highest levels of data protection.

The bottom line 

The majority of private cloud security myths are a result of misconceptions brought about by legends of migration stories gone wrong, as well as perhaps a traditional – and understandable – fear of change. Securing the private cloud can be cost-effective and easy to manage – especially when compared to trying to do all of the heavy lifting that comes with on-premise storage. 

Moving to a private cloud solution isn’t the big, scary jump that many organisations seem to think it is. Migration is in fact a simple, smooth and invisible process – and it can help organisations unlock the power of the cloud and enable the company to innovate.

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