It is hard to comprehend how far the information technology landscape has advanced in the past few decades – imagine living back in the 1980s when a personal computer was a luxury item for a home, using old faithful MS DOS for your operating system and a floppy disk for storage? Jump forward just 40 years to today, where a microchip can be hidden inside a pinhead, and your backup storage is almost entirely virtual. What does this mean for internet security? You may have heard about recent attacks on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) providers in Canada – hackers are rife and they are getting bolder and more invasive with every passing day. A physical, old-fashioned phone line is almost impossible to compromise since the physical infrastructure would have to be damaged. Not so for a VOIP line, which is hosted entirely in the cloud.
One of the main and very popular ways your cloud server can be attacked by a hacker or group of ‘bad actors’, is known as a Dedicated Denial of Service (DDOS) attack. This is not something reserved for the uninformed, it can happen to even the most cautious, well-protected systems, including the big guns with all the most advanced security measures in place.
When a cloud server is compromised, all services operating from that server can go down. There is nothing that your IT service provider can do about this. The difference here is dependent on your backup infrastructure. If a multinational corporation like Microsoft gets attacked in a DDOS, they have an enormous support structure, and will easily be able to redirect your cloud storage to another server that has not been compromised. You may recall a few years back that Apple was hit by a cyber-attack, in which confidential photos of celebrities were leaked. Although the corporation denied any breach in its systems, they confirmed that the leak occurred, and put it down to the fact that users were not making use of 2-factor authentication and other security measures to protect their accounts. Whatever the reason was, the fact remained that Apple, a giant and leader in many IT related arenas, was breached. It can happen to absolutely anyone.
It is important for businesses to be aware of this possibility and understand that although cloud storage is extremely convenient, it may not be wise to rely on it as the only way to manage or back up your systems. If you are in a position to be able to provide both physical servers and cloud storage, you have extra protection against information leakage. If you are hosting clients through your cloud storage, you will need to inform them of the outage and make an alternative plan until you resolve the problem.
Here is the bottom line:
- A DDOS can affect absolutely anyone – no matter how secure your network and servers are.
- Your IT company cannot do much about or against a DDOS.
- If you have the infrastructure to host multiple servers, you can switch to another one, but unless you are a multinational corporation, this is a very expensive option.
- In some cases physical onsite or hosted server storage as a backup to the cloud can be ideal.