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Understanding Cloud Hosting Security

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 by

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Understanding Cloud Hosting Security

Cloud hosting is just as secure as any other style of hosting. However, it’s gotten a bad rap due to the criticism of virtualized technologies in the past. When things started moving towards the cloud there was a lot of fear related to this new technology, as businesses couldn’t part with the idea of not having their data and storage in-house.

However, now that the cloud has gone mainstream those critiques have become nothing but a thing of the past. Today we rely on several different technologies that live in the cloud, and our hosting is no different.

Below we explore the main issues surrounding cloud hosting security and highlight the security advantages of hosting your website in the cloud. So you can finally answer the question: is cloud hosting safe and secure?

 

Understanding Cloud Hosting Security

Much of the concern related to the security of cloud hosting and other cloud platforms had to do with the initial skepticism over changing technology and not the technology itself. Time has shown us that the cloud has matured and with that technology, maturation has come improved levels of security.

When looking at a traditional server environment your website’s files are stored in a specified physical server location. With cloud hosting your site’s files are distributed and take up multiple virtual server locations that are associated with physical servers.

In terms of overall security, cloud hosting actually has an additional layer of security. You have your physical security measures to protect the physical datacenter from being hacked, or harmed. Next, you have a layer of security on the physical server itself. Finally, with cloud hosting you have an additional layer of security that protects the virtual network and isolates your cloud hosting environment.

However, not all cloud hosts are created equal in their security measures. The overall security of any cloud platform has to do with how certain security protocols are implemented. For example, you can have a very insecure cloud server in the same way you could have an insecure dedicated server. It’s not the underlying technology, but how it’s implemented.

 

Is Cloud Hosting Secure?

There are a few different objections to the overall security of cloud hosting. We examine those below and illustrate how cloud hosting actually overcomes these security hurdles.

 

1. The Bad Neighbor Effect

One common security issue revolves around the issue of multi-tenant cloud hosting. This is when multiple different virtual machines are using the same dedicated physical server space. These virtual machine networks are what make up your cloud hosting environment.

The idea is that a single insecure or overloaded site on the network, could compromise the other sites. However, there are numerous enhanced security protocols in place like VM isolation, which completely isolates your virtual network from others on the same machine. This means that your data is safe, protected, and can’t be accessed by anyone except you.

 

2. Overall Loss of Data Control

The seeming loss of control over the location of your data seems to be a big objection to cloud hosting. The outsourcing of your information storage to a third-party cloud system can seem a little scary. However, most of today’s cloud hosting providers operate with this understanding and have built their system around providing transparency and security around the user data. This allows you to maintain responsibility over your data, while not having to manage everything yourself.

 

3. Main Cloud Hosting Security Vulnerabilities

Just like other forms of hosting there are certain vulnerabilities you’ll need to be aware of. Security is never going to be perfect. When compared to traditional hosting the cloud offers a universal access point, which means that security protocols need to be even stricter. Still, vulnerabilities do exist.

Below you’ll find the main types of security issues that threaten cloud hosting environments. You’ll notice they’re very similar to traditional hosting environments as well:

  • DDoS attacks. It’s difficult to stop DDoS attacks, but you can do your best to protect your site with a solution like SiteLock, or other security add-ons.
  • Data breaches. Data breaches can occur due to the lack of two-factor authentication. By improving passwords and improving your user authentication process, this can be avoided.
  • Malware. Malware scripts can be injected into your cloud hosting and can be quite destructive in regards to sensitive data. However, using software like SiteLock will help protect you against this as well.
  • Data loss. Since data is stored across long distances you can run into the risk of a datacenter being taken out, or going offline, due to natural causes. Typically, this risk can be mitigated through regular backups stored in different locations.

 

Security Benefits of Cloud Servers

Using cloud hosting can actually end up offering you flexibility, security, and other cloud hosting benefits. By taking your website’s hosting up into the cloud you may be protecting your website even more than using a standard host.

  • Hardware problems are a non-issue. With cloud hosting, if there’s an issue with the physical server, or you need to add more memory or make improvements, you can do this without any downtime by running your site from a different virtual server.
  • An infected server won’t bring down your site. On the same line of thinking if a physical server becomes compromised this won’t bring down your site. Your site will simply be loaded from a different source and isolated from the issue.
  • Instant website data mirroring. Website mirroring will have simultaneous versions of your site present on different servers. This helps to improve the overall safety of your site and its redundancy.

Hopefully, this post has given you a better picture of the main issues surrounding cloud hosting security. Today’s cloud hosts are very different from the insecure cloud environments of the past, and instead offer you a flexible and highly secure hosting solution.

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Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.