In the wake of the outrage caused by a recent wave of iCloud private celebrity photo leaks — this year’s major Hollywood brouhaha that has enveloped tinsel town with a blanket of disgrace and paranoia — suspecting business marketers could not help but wonder:
Is our sense of cloud security forever shattered into smithereens?
Comparing consumer cloud services with that of enterprise solutions may be a tad out of order, but when Apple, the most powerful brand in the world according to Forbes, becomes [allegedly] susceptible to hacking and infiltration, it certainly raises security concerns regardless of which sector of society you’re coming from.
Data breach is data breach, no matter how you look at it.
Business owners and marketers are not to be blamed if they now begin to cast doubt on the integrity of their respective systems, or on the concept of cloud-based services altogether. However, it also helps to isolate the incidences to conclusively determine if a paradigm shift is looming — that is, in terms of entrusting cloud solutions with classified business data.
What are the chances of someone (or a group of people) making deliberate efforts to hack into your system and extract data? In the world of showbiz, this is a no-brainer; hackers would definitely swarm into any window of opportunity they see just to get a slice of a celebrity’s private life.
How about in the corporate world? Does your database contain something that hackers would kill to possess? Are you keeping something that, if exposed to the world, would destroy everything that your business has been founded upon?
That’s relative risk. A lot of companies only use cloud services for basic computing operations, while some use them for safekeeping delicate information. The higher the risk, the higher one should raise concerns.
It’s not always the system’s fault
Part of Apple’s official statement regarding the incident says, “After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions… None of the cases has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone.”
Again, isolated cases. Just because a list of popular people’s accounts were compromised doesn’t mean it’s symptomatic of a bigger, system-wide breach. It could be a password issue, a compromised data network, or just plain carelessness on the users’ part (although the latter is hardly the case since the victim count has risen to more than a hundred).
This holds true even in enterprise cloud solutions; vulnerability can be attributed to a lot of factors aside from a failing system. Only a thorough and objective investigation can expose the gap through which infiltrators are able to wriggle through, and to dismiss early on the effectiveness of the entire mechanism is a premature reaction.
IT investment is now relevant than ever
Adopting new technologies around cloud security and the IT infrastructure as a whole is becoming more proportionate to the needs of a business heading into a more tech-savvy future. Incidents like this iCloud leak can bring to light the importance of having security as one of the major priorities in running a business, as well as the degree of trust and confidence we can bestow to technology.