What makes data “yours”

I’m going to rewind the clock to the 7th century During the Tang Dynasty in China. Commerce at that time was done by exchanging coins which had holes in the middle of them. By stringing them together and simply measuring the stack of coins you could make big trades. But obviously this made trade a bit of a pain in the neck. To safely store this money they would often leave their coins with a trustworthy person, and that person would write up a piece of paper which would represent the amount of money in their possession. By the year 812 this practice was so popular that it was adopted by the government and its officials. And not surprisingly, people often opted to trade the paper rather than carrying the coins around.

Now I’m sure people back then often said, “I don’t like the bank because I don’t want my money in someone else’s hands.” But the inevitable truth was that the bank had much tighter around-the-clock security than individuals could sustain. Plus carrying a lot of coins around could put a target on your back. Coupling these two benefits made paper money a “thing”.

Organizations today are going through a similar perceptual transition, but now its with their data assets. For the last 30 years, companies have stored and managed all their data on their own. But doing this has come with extensive costs in hardware, software, and labor. Not to mention inconsistent best practices in how to manage and secure those resources.

Cloud vendors have approached organizations with a similar value proposition from the bankers of old. They’ve done this by offering a place where corporations could put their data which is physically very secure. And just like then, there are people today saying, ”I don’t like the cloud because I don’t want my data in someone else’s hands.” My answer to this concern usually comes in the form of a question:

What exactly makes the data yours?

Is it the fact that you own the lease on the data center?

Or is it that you generated the data?

Neither the location or the creation of that data have anything to do with you retaining it. Trust me, a hacker doesn’t care about either of those things. The only thing that makes data “your data” is security. This is especially the case when it comes to data, because data can be copied and moved instantly. Organizations are starting to realize this, so they’re seeing the benefit of having cloud vendors own the physical security of their data. BUT this doesn’t mean that the cloud vendors own the virtual security of your data. The task of encrypting and defining roles to who has access to data is still owned by each individual customer. This is why you don’t see security breaches to Cloud data centers that span everybody using it. There just isn’t a master key to hack.

Cloud customers that refactor their processes to natively work with the on-demand capabilities of the cloud, see similar benefits to the early merchants trading with paper money. See in a classic enterprise software architecture I have servers that basically are on all the time regardless of whether they are being used or not. But in a refactored cloud environment I have services which are very lightweight because they only turn on and scale when they’re needed, and disappear when their not. And just like paper money, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to fly under the radar. I go into this concept a little more in my Cloud vs Firewall video.

I’ve written a short whitepaper that you can share with your company executives if they’re weighing a move to the cloud. Additionally, you can reach out to Intricity to talk with a specialist about your specific scenario. Intricity can help you draw out a roadmap which will safely transition your organization to leveraging the most of what the cloud has to offer.

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