Like any cloud service provider, this $5B-plus company puts a top priority on uptime of its data centers. They have very high, “six-nines plus” standards. Just an hour of downtime in a major center can cost over $1 million. They are very careful about the location of their centers (taking into account such factors as weather and geologic stability), having redundant power systems, multiple layers of backup – and outstanding mail security.
Cloud providers have a unique mail security challenge. They may be providing services to thousands of companies in dozens of industries, but they are not aware of everything that their customers are doing online – nor could they be. Third parties, though, may be intensely aware of the end user’s activities, may be greatly offended by some, and may (absurdly) blame the cloud provider for them. If a customer is in the news, some people will track down where they are hosted, and the hosting company can be at risk. They also have challenges from people entering and exiting the data center. A USB key or other data storage device can be used to take a huge amount of data out of the facilities.
And while the IT people may think that their greatest security threats are online, they in fact face equally serious physical security challenges. This company has over 60 sites globally, including data centers, offices, and agents, each with a different security profile. People carrying items (with data) in and out could be as significant of a risk as threats coming through the mail, but they did not have a policy for controlling those entrances and exits.