Sensitive Data on the Cloud—The Outlook is Positive

Marshall Breeding Webinar, Part 2 of 4


In a webinar about the future of library software, Marshall Breeding took users’ questions about what new library technology means for them. A popular topic of discussion was the migration of library software towards the Cloud.


Q: Is the Cloud safe? Are there standards emerging to protect data among various vendors for Cloud computing?


A: Libraries, particularly special libraries, often house sensitive information. But what kind of information are we talking about?

  • Proprietary sensitive information
  • Trade secrets
  • Personal details about patrons

A lot of the concern that librarians have is that sensitive information will be compromised because of the nature of Cloud computing essentially making information available on the internet to virtually anyone. But Breeding surprises listeners by saying that local systems are “not nearly as safe and secure as we would hope.” With many libraries lacking any IT support for their local software systems, librarians are left to manage the data themselves. This can pose threats to the security of the library’s local server.

Unlike local systems where security measures can only go so far, there is ample opportunity for what Breeding calls “hardened security” on the Cloud. “The devil is in the details to make sure that…the data is properly segregated and secure and encrypted,” says Breeding.


Surprisingly, in the Cloud, “There’s the potential for much higher security than you are able to deliver locally."

                                                                                                                                                         -Marshall Breeding


David Linthicum at expands on the benefits of the Cloud over local storage. “Variations in threat activity are not as important as where the infrastructure is located” (emphasis added). Librarians might be more comfortable with localizing all data in one place—in this case, a physical library location. But this provides a false sense of security and ultimately compromises security by making all of the data vulnerable at once.

While librarians may have control of their local data, it being all in one location, security is not guaranteed. Linthicum goes on to say that “control does not mean security.”

Marshall Breeding continues by telling listeners that while this question requires some complex and specific answers, librarians can rest assured that the Cloud is safer than people previously assumed.


When all is said and done, any system—whether hosted on the Cloud or locally—that is lacking appropriate and thorough security measures won’t be secure. If anything, the security potential of the Cloud is enough to give you and your library peace of mind.

To hear more about the importance of cloud technology and how it can improve your library, click here for the full Marshall Breeding webinar. 

To read the previous webinar report, click here.

To read the following webinar report, click here.  


Bethany Cummings
Associate Marketing Writer