It’s 2:00 a.m. Do you know how secure your data is? If you did, you wouldn’t like it.
On a recent trip to a prominent trade show focusing on emergency services, there were, as with any such event, a plethora of companies jostling for position to present their wares to anyone who would listen. And, among a list of companies whose offerings run the gamut of EMS solutions, were several touting the “software as a service” (SaaS) model, combined with a simple data component.
So, like any technically minded person, I couldn’t help but be intrigued about what they were offering, their value propositions, etc.—call it both professional and personal curiosity. And in every case, my reaction was the same: complete and utter fear. Why? Simply put, I found out where my data would be theoretically stored, and it wasn’t good.
So, why the fear and anxiety when it wouldn’t actually affect me in any way—knowing full well I wasn’t in a position to buy their services anyway? It’s because it gave me a glimpse into an archaic world that shouldn’t still exist, and that world is on-premises (on-prem) hosting.
When I think back to my days in IT from perhaps 2000 onward, the cloud scenario, for a brief but turbulent time, was something that people either didn’t understand or were too scared to learn about, or they just plain hated the idea of moving forward with modern technology. The entrenched idea that data needed to be hosted on one’s premises was protectionist, but it made some sense given the uncertainty at that time regarding cloud security in all its forms.
But as that brief and turbulent time came to an end, it gave way to new beginnings, new outlooks, and new opportunities—most notably, the ability to grow data on an exponential scale, along with a new, virtually unmatched level of security. It was the dawning of the age of big data, analytics, and robust security, entering a world that was about to evolve at a pace never before seen in history.
Which brings us to today. We now live in a world connected by data. From our daily personal lives, to our work lives and beyond, data drives everything we do. And with that comes the evolution of the scarier side of the equation: data security and the ever-present threats that seem to impact us all every day.
I’m sure we have all heard about what happened in Ukraine just a few short weeks ago, or should I say happened to Ukraine when a piece of malware literally shut down the country, including public transit, banks, city services, and more. Just one example of the terrifying reality of what can happen in a data-driven world.
Now, I don’t mean to be alarmist—quite the opposite. The idea is that, in today’s tech-driven world, the hosting of infrastructure and data on-premises is a dying practice soon to follow floppy disks and CRT monitors into oblivion. And why? Because big companies offering hosting solutions such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, among others, have seemingly bottomless pockets when it comes to securing infrastructure, paired with entire divisions of specialists protecting the data that makes these companies what they are.
So, how can small companies that host their customer data on-premises match the resources of the biggest of global companies? The answer is simple: they can’t. And, even setting aside global security threats of a more nefarious nature, there are also the environmental risks. From flood and fire to earthquakes and all things force majeure–related, if your data is hosted anywhere but at a tier one data center, then your days could very well be numbered.
The moral of this story is simple. Whoever your service provider may be, for whatever aspect of your organization, always and I mean ALWAYS ensure that your data is stored securely in a tier one facility that is purpose-built to withstand all types of threats, be they cyber or otherwise. After all, once the automobile came along, no one was interested in buying a better buggy.