Jan Brass Takes a Hard Look at the Cloud

Cloud Security – Time to Shed the “Security” Bogeyman?

Cloud Security - Time to Shed the "Security" Bogeyman?Even though the adoption of cloud technologies is accelerating across the world, there are still thousands of companies holding out in favor of on-site data centers. Security remains one of the biggest concerns for these enterprises even though most high profile breaches in the recent past have mainly targeted on-premise data networks.

Even today – despite the fact that no security breach has successfully taken down the big cloud companies such as Google or Amazon – quite a few consultants advise businesses to build their own data centers if they want to maintain control and security. Unfortunately, the reality is that few companies have the expertise and/or resources necessary to reach the level of security they desire. Keeping your data close only provides the illusion of safety and in many ways, could be the worst alternative to the cloud.

Security Expertise
Few enterprises that are not in the business of providing data security are able to fully secure their systems to the same level as those whose sole focus or business model is based on security. When a company’s data center is hacked, their first concern is to protect customers and make amends. There is no reason to expect that companies will suddenly emphasize security the minute after a high-profile data breach occurs.

Of course, not all cloud companies offer the same level of data security. Nevertheless forgoing the cloud altogether does not appear to be a sensible solution. On the other hand, managers would do well to research the security policies of of cloud vendor and talk to their current customers, so that they can select the most security conscious vendor.

Espionage and Government Surveillance
Increasingly, enterprises are concerned about access to confidential data by outsiders which might even be the federal government in many cases. Large companies such as Google frequently receive requests from law enforcement and some of these cannot be denied.

However some cloud providers offer secure alternatives such as providing enterprises with the encryption keys so that even the vendor cannot access the data. This means that law enforcement officials have to directly contact the business that owns the information they want. At the very least, the company should ensure that the provider requires a warrant for information before they will comply with official requests.

The Cloud Provides More Options

The cloud’s biggest strength is distributed computing and storage. Any enterprise that stores all its data in one location immediately becomes a target for cybercriminals and identity thieves. When it comes to digital data, physical location has little – if any – bearing on the security. This issue may not be solved merely because the data has been moved to the cloud. Rather the business can make sure to spread data storage across multiple providers in different locations so that one hack will not compromise the entire database.

When considering the recent data breaches, it becomes readily apparent that selecting the right cloud vendor provides far more security for enterprise data than DIY solutions. An enterprise may have other reasons for doing without cloud technology but security should no longer be one of them.

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