There’s really only one way to make sure a computer can’t be accessed remotely: Disconnect it from the Internet and take it as far away from people as possible. Maybe assign it an armed guard while you’re at it.
If that’s not a viable option for your cloud-based service desk, and it has some impracticalities, then security issues are going to be with us no matter what, and the cloud is no different. But what about your service desk? Does putting it into the cloud put it at risk?
No more so than a traditional system, and, in fact, often less so. To understand why, we need to look at computer security and the cloud itself.
Cloud based computing is, in terms of security practice, ultimately nothing more than storing your applications and information on a remote server instead of a local hard drive.
That doesn’t mean, however, that cloud computing is less secure. A cloud-based service desk is actually more secure than on-site infrastructure for several reasons:
- On-site infrastructure may be improperly configured, which creates security vulnerabilities and places for exploits to do their work.
- Cloud-based service desks have to have a proper setup, because if they don’t, well … they simply don’t work for the end user.
- On-site infrastructure is vulnerable to on-site attacks. While any IT professional can tell you the action-movie sequence where the hacker sneaks into a facility as the plumber and jams a thumb drive into a handy USB slot is just a fantasy, an embittered employee deciding to crash your server with some code they found on the Internet is a much more likely scenario.
- Cloud-based service desks offer redundancy. Backups are located separately from each other, both physically and in the cloud. Think of it as having a match: You can burn down a building with a match… but it’s a lot harder to burn away a fog bank.
- Cloud-based service desks have encrypted channels. If somebody breaches an employee desktop, instead of all the information right there, they have to breach an entirely separate series of protocols.
- Cloud-based service desks have fewer access points. It’s a sad truth that more often than not, malware is introduced by employees who click a link on an email and unleash a mess onto a system.
- If worst comes to worst, cloud-based systems are easier to quarantine. There are more eyes looking for malicious code, more protections against it, and more at stake for everyone involved.
Ultimately, there is no such thing as a completely secure, completely safe system. If there is a way to legitimately access the system, there is thus a way to illegitimately access the system. A cloud-based system and an on-site system will share some of the same vulnerabilities, no matter what you do.
That said, however, cloud-based systems have much to recommend themselves, and have many ways to help reduce risk. The idea that physical infrastructure is inherently more secure is simply not true… and if you’re concerned about your service desk’s security, it’s worth looking into what the cloud can provide you in terms of peace of mind.
About Laura Miller
Laura Miller is the Senior Director of Sales Operations, ITSM at SolarWinds. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.
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