Instilling Trust in the Cloud
It is often said that a perceived threat is always greater than the actual threat, and nowhere is it more pronounced than in many a modern firm’s attitude towards the cloud. Time after time, we keep hearing that businesses are afraid to migrate to cloud-based file sharing services because they fear they might lose their intellectual property.
Their conviction is so pronounced with insecure data in the cloud that most do not even bother to consider the benefits cloud brings to the table. In a way, this situation, while unfortunate, is completely natural. The human brain is wired to respond to unfamiliar situations with fear.
Security expert Bruce Schneier stated in his book, Beyond Fear, that people underestimate risks they willingly take, while overestimating risks in situations they cannot control. Terrorists are scary because they can attack from anywhere, and airplanes are perceived as riskier than a car because the controls are in someone else’s hands (even though statistically, the latter is a far more dangerous form of transportation).
This statement was echoed in research done by Cloud Industry Forum, which surveyed 250 senior IT and business decision makers. In the study, 61 percent of respondents stated that they had concerns over data security, while only 2 percent had actually experienced a breach in the cloud service(s) they used.
Does the cloud really lack security?
No digital eco-system is completely safe, a fact that also applies to the cloud. Despite the fact that most cloud-based file sharing services out there have invested in sophisticated security protocols, malicious insiders and outside threats can still deal a blow to their setup.
Having said that, what your clients and prospects are failing to take into account is that their IT infrastructure is also suspect. Alan Carter of SecureData states that too many businesses are guilty of overestimating their own capabilities and thinking their in-house servers are somehow more secure than a cloud.
Sophisticated security technologies, such as those employed by cloud-based file sharing systems, are simply too expensive for most firms, which then choose to fall back on basic security protocols that can be easily over-ridden.
The simple fact is that regular IT infrastructure experiences far more data breaches and thefts compared to the cloud, so the question you should be asking is, ‘why aren’t they moving to the cloud?’
What can MSPs do to put their clients and prospects at ease?
For starters, if you haven’t done so already, consider including your cloud’s security features in your marketing messages. Your clients and prospects need to be educated about your security measures, and inbound, email and social media marketing strategies can be used very effectively to convey why the cloud offers an affordable, robust solution over traditional IT.
At the heart of this issue is locality. Businesses simply cannot stand the idea of their data being in a public environment in a land far, far away. Also, firms operating in regulated industries have to comply with laws, most of which require unique and stringent security measures for the data they possess and use in a given geographic area.
In such a situation, a hybrid cloud is by far the best solution for maintaining private or personal information and applications on a private cloud, while less mission-critical ware can be migrated to a public one.
If you do plan to advertise your services to prospects in a regulated industry, then start by making sure your setup complies with all the regulations. It will also help if you dealt with each client on a case-by-case basis, offering the best fit for their particular business requirements, so that an optimal balance can be found between price, security and performance.