High Up in The Cloud: How Safe is Your Data and Website?

Losing data can be hugely frustrating. Even the smallest loss of data can be annoying. That email you spent 20 minutes writing that disappeared when your computer crashed. We've all been there. So losing all your personal or business information, including your website, is such a horrible thought that we imagine it only happens to other people.

With cloud computing more and more of our lives are being stored in the cloud. But have you considered the safety of your website and your data? The term 'cloud computing' conjures up a fluffy image of information stored up high in the sky, safe from danger. But in reality your data is stored in huge data centers - all glass and metal - stuffed full with servers.

With your website and information dependent on data centers, have you considered what security steps are operating at these venues? What safeguards are in place to protect your information?

Loss of data: hardware failure

The most likely scenario is that there is a problem with the hardware or software. Hard disks fail in data centers, just like they do in your home or office computers. The big difference being that in a data center the information is stored on multiple disks so when one fails (which they will), the hard disk is exchanged for a new one. Whereas on your computer there is only one disk. When that copy goes, you have big problems. So servers are always backing up other servers and data centers even back up other data centers - making cloud computing a reliable safeguard from data loss.

Data centers also have processes to prevent accidental damage. Fire is a concern, so buildings are fitted with advanced smoke alarms, using sophisticated software to detect a potential fire outbreak before it happens - sometimes even using laser detection devices.

Air conditioning keeps the banks of servers at a constantly cold temperature to prevent overheating. Food and drinks are strictly forbidden. Even the air is carefully filtered so that it does not contain dust particles which may interfere with the machines.

Loss of data: deliberate attack

Defenses against deliberate attack from people are understandably a good deal more complex. Data centers can face physical or cyber attacks.

Access to data centers is tightly restricted and the more important the data center (say, a military unit) the more severe that security will be. Even in standard data centers, visitors are usually prohibited and engineers often use finger print entry systems. And, of course, a security team will monitor the site 24/7, using advanced detection devices.

But none of this is any good for an electronic attack. So a data center will also use elaborate techniques to prevent cyber crime. All data held within the centre will be encrypted so you would have to have the right keys to unlock it. But the best hackers can crack tough codes, so data centers also use high-tech monitoring tools that track all computing activity and will alert security as soon as a breach of the system is detected. At this point engineers will be able to direct that hacker into a dead end in the system, so they are unable to view or corrupt any of the center's systems.

Short of an earthquake, missile attack or severe weather event (only one of the data centers in New Orleans was able to stay functioning during Hurricane Katrina), data centers are resilient and designed to handle many different contingencies.

So, although bad things that can happen, your data seems to be in good hands. Just make sure that if something goes wrong, you know about it immediately with our professional website monitoring service.