Friday, March 29, 2013

Why Do We Keep Our Valuables In A Bank Locker?

Today morning, I got a chance to talk to a large group of SuccessFactors solution consultants and partners. One of them brought up the question of cloud security and mentioned that customers are concerned about moving their core HR data to the cloud.

That is a genuine concern. People want to have control over important information. This is not very different from our personal lives. We want to safeguard our valuables. But keeping our valuables closer to us does not mean that they are always secure. It might give us a sense of security and the belief that we can do something about potential intruders. But the truth is that bank vaults are more secure than any locker or vault that a normal house hold can buy.That is why we keep our valuables in bank lockers or vaults.

Where would you rather keep your valuables? In a bank vault or at home.

This translates to cloud security too. In a public customer session at HR Insider 2013 in Las Vegas, one of the SAP - SuccessFactors Hybrid customers announced publicly that their own security audit found that SuccessFactors cloud infrastructure was more secure than their own fire wall. This does not mean that cloud infrastructure cannot be hacked. A determined hacker can get into any infrastructure, the same way a determined thief can get into any house or building.

However the security measures deployed by cloud providers, including the measures deployed by SuccessFactors, are bound to be way better than most individual companies' security measures. Cloud providers also invest heavily in security and keep up with the advances, because their survival depends on it. I am not the person responsible for cloud security at SAP and SuccessFactors. But I hear from customers that they are realizing this fact on their own.

There are always bound to be exceptions to this case. Some customers may invest more on security compared to cloud providers for national security or other business reasons. But I am learning, from customers that I speak with, that for most organizations, data in a cloud provider's infrastructure will be more secure than data behind their own firewalls.

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