The Guardian Data Systems Blog

Our Perspectives on the Cannabis Industry

Cannabis Software: Cloud VS Server Based

What is better for your cannabis business? A cloud based solution or a onsite server based solution? Find out!

When it comes to protecting your sensitive information do you choose a Cloud Infrastructure or stick with an On-Premise solution? Which one is the safer choice? It seems like these days hacking and cyber attacks are becoming commonplace. Most people think it is not as much a question of if you will be compromised but when. Businesses are becoming very weary being attacked and having their sensitive information leaked and in this age of cyber attacks they have every right to be. This is especially true when selecting a cannabis software solution, but which solution do you choose? Which is the more secure solution?  Which is the more dependable solution?

In the cannabis industry there seems to be a certain misconception that On-Premise server solutions are safer than a cloud based server solution.

controlThere is this natural perception inherent to humans that if you have something under your control you can protect it. People for the most part do not have a clear concept of the Cloud, what it is or how it works. They may feel like the information is just out there somewhere floating around and that makes it more susceptible to attack. Business owners may feel that if their data is stored in an On-site server based solution they have more control over anything happening to it. They can decide what kind and how many security measures to take.

The truth of the matter is that On-Premise, or server based cannabis software solutions are traditionally NOT safer than cloud-based solutions.

server onsiteThere are some very common reasons for this. Business owners are very busy people. They spend most of their time managing employees and running the day to day operations of the business. This is true for any business but especially true for businesses in the cannabis industry. In addition to the intricacies of day to day business, cannabis business owners spend much of their attention on cannabis compliance and abiding by the many laws and regulations it requires.

Having an on-premise solution means that the data is kept on site. Most of the time all of a company’s data is stored on a single server, This can mean trouble for many reasons.

First, if that server is connected to the internet, then that server is inherently more susceptible to attack. If it were attacked the hacker gets access to all of the data in one fell swoop. The hacker can not only gain access to every bit of the data but, once inside, can also shut down the entire server.

Simply because they do not have the space to set up physical redundant servers onsite most businesses have no backup system to switch over to. In this type of situation it’s not just a case of access to sensitive information, if your system is shut down and you do not have a backup system to switch over to, they have effectively crippled your whole business.

hackerSecondly, most business owners who purchase an on-premise solution can be lax about installing firewalls, and if they do they tend to be complacent about constantly updating those firewalls. Most people believe that they can just install a firewall and let it do it’s thing while they go about their business. Businesses could set up a concurrent program that will read the vital signs of the server and send an alert if anything is out of the ordinary but it is unlikely that they employ a dedicated staff member who is monitoring the server at all times for anything strange.

There needs to be high level encryption  and redundancy protocols in place as well as constant monitoring.  Businesses will often install security alarms and cameras for the purpose of protecting their inventory but rarely do they consider setting up a dedicated closed loop camera system, alarms, or hire dedicated security guards for their on-premise servers. Especially in the cannabis industry, all of these steps are pertinent for both compliance and protecting marijuana products but all too often the focus isn’t on protecting the data server itself.

Consider this scenario, there is the chance that a disgruntled employee might try to cause harm from within. They would have easy access to files and information and it’s not difficult for them to find that information when it is in a server right on premise.

The fact of the matter is Cloud Service IT environments are significantly more secure than a typical On-Site solution.

cloud securityThis is partly because they face tougher standards.  High level Cloud based service organizations capable of servicing Fortune 500 companies will have to adhere to specific standards of security, such as Soc 2 Type II, and have their business independently audited for it’s security controls in order to receive certification. SOC stands for Service Organization Controls and is a set of standards that a service organization must follow in order to prove how well it protects its information.  SOC 2 refers to the internal controls the cloud service provider has in place. The independent auditor uses this information to determine that the business has the appropriate safeguards and procedures in place.

Type II reports will show the auditor the policies and procedures over a period of six months or more to prove they employ strategies to protect the client’s information.  Therefore, a SOC 2 type II certification shows that a cloud service organization has taken the extra steps to prove that they designed their system to ensure the safety of its clients sensitive data.  These certifications are not always required but when you are selecting a cannabis software solution, choosing a company that has taken these steps of certification helps to ensure that your choice will protect your business’ and your client’s information as well as the stability of the system powering your business.

A reputable Cloud Service provider will have all of the necessary security and control procedures in place as well as advanced encryption that prevent any type of cyber attack from occurring.

cannabis cloud securityThey must and do go far beyond what is provided by traditional firewalls.  A proper Cloud Service provider will have multiple firewalls and intrusion detection systems in place to help protect the cloud platform from any unwelcome guests. The organization will also have protocols set up to make sure firewalls are being updated and monitored continuously.

Unlike the on-site server, Cloud-based architecture has multiple levels of data redundancy as well as multiple levels of server redundancy in place. If there were a situation where a server goes down the data and information is automatically switch to the next set of servers resulting in no loss of information. This happens with databases as well. If a database goes down for any reason it can quickly be switch directly over to the backup database. This switch can happen seamlessly and be almost imperceptible to the customer. Because the data is constantly being backed up a mass data loss is basically infeasible.

Reputable Cloud Service providers will have teams in place to monitor the vital signs of the server at all times. They will have protocols set up explicitly for monitoring the traffic inside and at each end point. The goal is to monitor what is normal and what may not look normal. If you are not looking for a situation it is very difficult to see it.  This type of insight allows for early detection of a breach once inside the system so that it can be appropriately and swiftly dealt with.

secuirtyThe mere fact that a Cloud Server solution is off premise makes it more secure from physical attack than the server stored on premise. With employees being physically removed from where the data is being held, and no relationships with the people who know how to get to that data, this particular threat is nonexistent.

But even so, a Cloud based infrastructure will still include physical protection such as sophisticated surveillance systems, alarm systems and security guards. Most businesses just simply do not take these steps, unfortunately.

A Cloud Service solution is more secure than an on-site solution for many reasons but the most obvious might be reputation.

A provider simply cannot afford NOT to take the precautions necessary to protect their clients data. Security is the foundation of their business. This is what they do. A Cloud Service provider has a vested interest in upholding high levels of stability and security.  A security or extended outage could easily cripple a cloud service provider beyond repair which makes stability and security their top concern for top cloud based service providers.

Roar Erp for cannabis corporationsIf you are looking for a Cannabis Software service provider that cares as much about the stability and security of your business and it’s customers as they do theirs look no further than Guardian Data Systems.

Get started with ROAR, the industry’s only true ERP, today.

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