The development of cloud software has opened new doors for businesses to share information across multiple platforms and increase their mobility. But a wave of cyber attacks has raised concerns about the sustainability of the relatively new field. In fact, the situation might be getting worse, technology consultant Bill Kleyman wrote in an article for Data Center Knowledge. He cited an Arbor Networks study as evidence of a growing trend in cloud computing; as the industry expands, it becomes increasingly targeted by hackers.
Is your data safe in the cloud?
The simple answer to this question is, well, no. Business Insider contributor Matt Weinberger warned that everyone is susceptible to cyber attacks, even if they aren't specifically aimed at individuals. Data thieves attack systems, not people, and if your data is stored in that system, it could be indirectly targeted. For important documents – financial statements, business invoices, banking information, etc. – the alleged convenience of having everything digitized is largely overshadowed by the threat of having your information stolen.
Weinberger went on the say that hackers have reached such a high level of sophistication that they can now successfully pose as friendly figures – he noted local police or coworkers as examples – which further increases the risk of employing e-documents for business or personal use. Kleyman cited a study conducted by the Health Information Trust Alliance that detailed the data losses the health care industry has seen in recent years. HITRUST reported nearly 500 breaches, totaling losses of 21.12 million records and a whopping $4.1 billion. And the hacks are so sophisticated that the study found it took an average of 84.78 days to identify that an attack had taken place. Since most organizations do not have data loss prevention services, it's nearly impossible to recover the files, especially after so much time has passed.
What should I do to prevent cyber attacks?
Well, the most simple solution is to keep your important documents – business, personal or otherwise – in physical form, so that they're considerably less vulnerable to the threat of being stolen. With the continued development of the Internet of Things – smart appliances and other household devices – it's now possible for hackers to dig their claws into everything, including your home life, Weinberger said. The Internet of Things is remarkably insecure at the moment, which leads to even higher levels of susceptibility.
The cloud is great for storage of leisure-oriented data like music, photos and other such trivialities, but for vital documents, paper is far more secure. There's no need to risk losing your data and possibly getting your identity stolen just to keep up with the most advanced software.
There is an abundant supply of different cyber security software out there, but even these systems don't know what hackers will do next, so they're not airtight, either. If you're committed to cloud computing and digitized document management at this point, then it's wise to invest in a proactive solution, which will counter attacks as they occur. But the safest option will always be to keep your important information safe by keeping it off the grid.