Is a storm on the horizon?

10 April 2017


In this blog I will look at the pros and cons of the cloud with a view to understand if the cloud has a long term future in business.

Up on Cloud 9.

Over the past 5 years the phrase ‘Cloud Based Software’ has become common in both the workplace and the home. Entire business models and industries have grown on the back of this. Cloud based software is definitely in vogue right now, I don’t see a single tender or request for information these days where the market is asking for locally installed applications.

The benefits of cloud based software are HUGE:

  • No need for expensive IT infrastructure
  • Access to your data 24/7 from any internet enabled device
  • Seamless updates and upgrades

As with all stories though, there are always two sides!

Dark Clouds can often spell trouble.

As the popularity in cloud based solutions has risen, so has the frequency in which we read about corporations being hacked and data being stolen.

We are not just talking small companies here, but some of the largest and most sophisticated in the world that spend more money on IT security than small to medium enterprises in the UK turnover in a decade. What is even more worrying is that sometimes these companies do not even know they have been hacked until a year or two down the line.

A weather front covering Europe.

Technology moves so fast that legislation used to govern it can often become woefully out of date or inadequate. This until recently was the case with Data Protection legislation. In 2016, the European Commission launched a new regulation called ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ or GDPR for short. The purpose of this regulation is to strengthen the law to protect individual’s data and impose fines on companies that are found to breach the regulation.

In summary GDPR will:

  • Provide a single consistent set of rules for all EU countries
  • Strengthen the rules around when and what personal data can be collected
  • Mean every business will need a Data Protection Officer
  • Force all companies to notify the local data protection authority within 72 hours of a breach being discovered
  • Allow individuals with the right to be forgotten (Essentially delete all the person’s data)
  • Fine companies up to €20m or 4% of their groups annual global turnover when a breach occurs

A silver lining?

Many people are very concerned about GDPR with a lot of people focussing on the potential fines that could be levied. However, I think this is a good thing. For any businesses that handle personal data then it is crucial that they treat this data with respect and do everything within their power to secure and protect it. In the long run, this new legislation will ultimately make this easier and will mean that business have to sit up, take notice and invest (quite heavily!) in the right tools, processes and technology to secure the data.

Will this stop data being stolen? Absolutely not. Like in any walk of life, if a thief wants something badly enough they will find a way to take it regardless of the security that it is put in place, but it should make it just that little bit harder.

My weather forecast…

The sophistication and cunning of data thief’s continues to evolve and grow daily. In response, businesses are investing heavily in ways to combat this. It is however a constant game of back and forth that seems to have no end in sight with sophistication and costs spiralling upwards. Will we hit a point where the costs for providing a secure cloud platform outweigh the benefits?

I seem to be debating this with myself almost daily and can argue it either way. However, at the time of writing this, I will be brave and say, ‘yes, I think we will hit a point that the costs outweigh the benefits.’

I think that eventually the cloud will go full circle and in the next 10 years we will see locally hosted systems on a company’s own network with no access to the outside world making a comeback. This would spell the end of many of the benefits of cloud as the person would need to be on the network to access data but would provide an extra level of security and peace of mind.

What do you think? Have I just done a Michael Fish 1987 storm warning, or do you agree with me? Let me know in the comment section below.

Take a look at our Cloud Software.

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