Internet access to software applications provide increased agility for businesses, staff and other users. They can also increase the risk of data breaches if they’re not managed right. This balancing act between convenience and security makes many people wary of systems that are accessed online. And for good reason too. What’s the point of access to systems from anywhere or even improved processing power and speeds if you are putting your data security at risk?
The solution for years now has been cloud computing. In many cases, storing things online is safer than storing them on your personal devices. But there are variations to the types of cloud computing available, and each has its own benefits and risks.
When it comes to managing large amounts of data for residents and businesses, we believe security should be one of the highest priorities. It’s a big responsibility to take care of a building’s community. When asking people to share their information and manage parts of their personal lives online, the system being used should protect them and keep them safe.
Cloud Security – what is it and how does it work?
The cloud is simply a term for large servers that store vast amounts of information on behalf of users and make it accessible via the internet. These servers are protected in several ways. Firstly, it’s encrypted meaning the information is scrambled and can only be untangled with the correct keys. Secondly, servers are physically stored in warehouses that have their own security measures, for example, staff don’t have access to them and CCTV monitors who enter and exit these buildings. Finally, security updates are regularly applied to ensure that they are continually improving and remaining a few steps ahead of hackers and cybercriminals.
There are several different types of cloud servers and with them, differing levels of security. Public third-party servers, private third-party servers, private servers and hybrid servers all have different pros and cons.
Different types of cloud and security levels
Public and private third-party servers are the most common types of cloud service. In these cases, the actual servers are owned and managed by someone else and rented for use. Servers can be dedicated to one client, or partitioned for use by multiple clients. For example, Slack – the productivity management app – uses the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud. They buy server space for their software, effectively outsourcing their IT infrastructure and security to AWS. It gives Slack time to focus on their software development and growing their business.
Dropbox, Nexflix, MYBOS and most free email providers like Yahoo also use third-party cloud servers. Smaller developers, SaaS, IaaS and PaaS businesses may rent partitioned space on shared third-party servers rather than the more costly option of renting their own dedicated servers.
These aren’t the only ways to deliver software over the internet, of course. Private servers and hybrid clouds also offer ‘anywhere accessibility’ and improved computing power but have different levels of security benefits too.
Private servers are owned directly by the company that uses them. This means that the entire server is owned and maintained by them. Unlike a third-party server where space may be rented by two or more businesses, privately owned servers are solely for the use of that company. This increases the level of security, but also the level of responsibility for running security updates, maintaining infrastructure and power supply to these servers. When a business needs more space, they need to purchase and house another server.
BuildingLink run their community management system from privately owned servers because of the increased security it offers their users. Access to the physical servers is limited and their locations are distributed. That means if something happens to one location, for example, a fire, no data is lost and files can still be accessed from the different locations. This also enables BuildingLink to update its software without downtime for users.
Hybrid servers are (as you might have guessed) a combination of private and third-party servers. The benefit of this is increased flexibility in terms of space, but the downside is increased security risk. In most cases, large businesses and government departments use this option and would put less sensitive data on the third-party side of their cloud setup.
BuildingLink’s decision to own and manage its own servers comes down to heightened security. In 20 years of operation, there has not been a single breach of data security. On top of this, a robust investigation of the server’s security by the Ritz-Carlton Residences Network and the Marriot Corporation resulted in the award of approved ASP provider status.
Our professional and personal information, along with our time, are some of the most valuable things we have. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power” and at BuildingLink, we ensure we do all we can to keep that power in your hands.