Despite ongoing approaches to reassure users of the cloud that it has extremely high levels of security attached to almost all of our products, an irrational distrust of the cloud still lingers amongst some. Intuit’s own Alex Davis looks to allay the fears.
I have the conversation almost on a daily basis about the perceived threat of having personal and sensitive data stored ‘in the cloud’. “I don’t want my information ‘out there.’’’ was a reaction I heard recently. When I asked the person how they keep and share that data at the moment, he simply told me it sits on his (connected) PC and if it needs to be shared it is emailed or transported on a USB stick, kept in a bag with him at ‘all times’. Far safer….. right?
Well, I might be a little biased, but let’s think about this for a moment. If you read about almost any major data compromise over the last few years, it’s usually been down to 3 things:
- People failing to password protect PCs / laptops (on premise hack)
- People gaining access to data via the internet (firewall hack) or
- Losing physical hardware (leaving laptop in taxi hack).
This led me to two conclusions that the biggest threat is either an internet connection (regardless of where the data is) or the data owner, and by that, I mean user error! Actually, what we know as ‘the cloud’ has very little to do with it.
So, if we accept that your data needs to sit somewhere and the device , server or PC is going to be connected to the internet, then it comes down to some pretty fundamental numbers.
At Intuit, we invest millions of dollars in security, ensuring that we have the latest protection and replicating data across three data centres. We carry out daily security tests, running 256-bit encryption (same as the banks) to ensure that we stay one step ahead of the criminals and we stay in line with regulations such as EU Safe Harbour.
All the data is backed up off-site so you don’t need to hold multiple copies on unencrypted devices that can be lost, stolen or accessed without permission. Could our friend with the USB stick honestly make the same claims?
Recent research suggests that over 90% of UK businesses run at least one critical business application in the cloud – many without even knowing it! However, that isn’t to say that all cloud software providers are equal. So, you do need to be vigilant when selecting your partner in this area. Be sure to check the kind of information provided above – here’s a little piece about how seriously we we take data security at Intuit.
So, when clients state ‘I love the idea of using the cloud but from what I understand it is not safe’ then remind them of the points above. Ask them how they currently store and transport data and if they deploy the types of resources that Intuit use to keep that data safe. My guess is the objection will soon go away.