As Public Cloud Storage Grows, Watch Out for Data Loss

November 13, 2017 by Shira Caldie


Cloud storage is a model of data storage where digital data is stored in logical pools.  The physical storage runs across multiple servers and the physical environment is usually owned and managed by a hosting company.

So, what exactly is public cloud storage?  It is a standard cloud computing model in which a service provider provides resources, such as virtual machines (VMs) available to the general public over the internet.  Some public cloud services are free, while others require payment.  Some of the most commonly used public storage services are DropBox, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive.

Public cloud storage continues to gain ground and grow its popularity.  Gartner said early in 2017, that the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 18 percent this year.  In addition, cloud adoption strategies will influence more than 50 percent of information technology outsourcing deals (ITO) deals through 2020.

But what are the reasons for the cloud services huge success?   Here are the most important pros and cons it offers to the user:


  • Cost savings – organizations do not purchase, install, operate or maintain servers like they would do with a private cloud. Application development might take place, but everything is hosted by a public cloud provider.
  • There’s enough for everyone – a large number of users are able to share the provider’s computing resources, which again emphasizes the cost effectiveness for all users. Many experts agree that the cost of a public cloud is far lower than a traditional data center and private cloud because there are no expenses.  It also promotes flexibility for users, along with organizations only paying for the computing resources that they actually use.


  • Security and Compliance – although public cloud storage is convenient for multiple users, it opens up a deep hole of security concerns. James Staten, vice president and principal analyst of Forrester Research, says that some cloud providers will presumably be responsible for server security by providing logos to ensure there are no violations.  However, it is up to the organization to establish security on their own applications.  It is possible for public cloud service to be supplied from anywhere around the world.  Unless your cloud provider can confirm the physical location of your data, compliance with a certain country, industry and/or company rules may be near to impossible.
  • Reliability and availability – although updates are made in order to improve reliability and availability, outages can occur more often than not. This can take a toll on your organization’s operational functions.  When evaluating if public cloud is the right choice for your organization, think about if you can afford extended periods of downtime.

Risk of Data Loss in a Public Cloud

As more organizations continue using public cloud storage, the risk for data loss becomes more prevalent.   With the largest DDoS attack in 2013 coming in at 309 Gbps, no environment is safe.  Infrastructure must be controlled with policy.

While public cloud storage can be cost effective and efficient for all users, it opens up the potential for data loss.  Giving users access to applications through the cloud is a way for end-users to work remotely.  However, what happens when users start uploading files to the cloud?  You run the risk of data loss.

Healthcare is an industry that cannot afford data loss.  A recent report from the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) shows just how alarming and costly cloud data breaches in healthcare can be.

  • Total Data Breaches: 495
  • Total Records: 21.12 million
  • Total Cost: $4.1 billion
  • Average Size: 42,659 records
  • Average Cost: $8.27 million
  • Average Time to Identify: 84.78 days
  • Average Time to Notify: 68.31 days