There are few concepts that we talk about – or use for that matter – so often that are as nebulous as ‘the cloud’
But the cloud isn’t as ‘mysterious’ or ‘magical’ as the technological buzzword would have you believe. In fact, there are plenty of people out there who do understand the cloud (sorry, Jason Segel) and we’d even venture to guess that you probably used cloud computing today whether you realized it or not. According to Security Industry Association (SIA) Security Megatrends 2018, “The global cloud computer services market is expected to grow from $23.3 billion in 2016 to reach 68.4 billion in 2020 and 90 percent of organizations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities.” That’s quite the jump, but it goes to show exactly how ubiquitous cloud computing has become, not only in our personal lives, but in the security industry as well.
What is the Cloud
The cloud is simply a catch-all term for an off-site location where information and data is stored, processed and accessed. You’ve probably experienced a situation where you’ve run out of space on your phone or computer when downloading something or attempting to record a video. Cloud computing aims to alleviate these issues by allowing you to offload items like: pictures or old applications and messages – to an off-site server where they can be downloaded at your convenience. When the cloud is operating at peak efficiency, you’ll hardly even realize you’re using it, as accessing a file that is still shown amongst your documents will quietly download as you’re selecting it. Online banking applications, Google Drive, Airbnb, Uber, even game consoles like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One are just some ways that we interact personally with cloud computing, and the security industry is following suit.
Staying Secure with the Cloud
With the amount of information being stored and transmitted with modern security systems, it makes sense that the industry would start to adopt cloud computing as a solution. SIA Security megatrends points out that “As security providers transition more fully into networked connected devices and information technology (IT), embracing the cloud hosting will be paramount…Because of the inherent efficiencies, safeguards, scalability and accessibility…” One of the core tenants of security is video footage, and anyone who’s worked with video at some point in their lives can tell you that it takes up a lot of space. One hour of footage could potentially take up nearly 450GB. Mind you, that’s one hour of 1080p footage. With resolutions reaching up to and beyond 4K, not to mention businesses that require round the clock surveillance, it starts to become clear how much storage space video actually eats up. Cloud computing allows for data like this to be offloaded to a remote location, rather than dedicate an entire room (or floor) of your building to bulky server towers.
As we mentioned before, cloud computing is at its best when you don’t even realize its working. Video data, access control login details and more are available to you in the cloud when you need them and are often automatically backed up. Many service providers also offer disaster recovery should you accidentally delete an important file. In an environment where you’re not necessarily in your building every day, this sort of on the fly accessibility can be invaluable. Of course, this feature is only as beneficial as it is secure. Luckily, the baked-in security measures such as: two-factor authentication, encryption, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certifications ensure that only those with the proper authorization are able to access the data.
Cloud computing offers a host of freedoms that make our daily lives much more convenient. We no longer need to make a trip to the bank to move money around, we can pick up where we left off in a game even if we’re away from our home console, and we can seamlessly share and edit documents and projects collaboratively. Cloud computing doesn’t just make our lives more convenient though. The power of cloud computing also works to make our business’ more secure by providing an elegant and safe solution for storing, processing, and accessing large amounts of data. The cloud may be a catchy buzzword, but it’s not so mysterious after all.