Security in a Cloud – Complete Guide

August 12, 2011 / Cloud Industry News Web Hosting

‘Cloud’ an entirely fresh model of Computing has established itself with a reputation of offering the greatest level of elasticity and flexibility over a computing environment for various platforms such as software, infrastructure and development platforms.

The model has brought along the offerings of decreased costs and faster deployments as compared to the traditional solutions. Despite being equipped with these beneficial features, why is it so that not many are seen to ride of the wave of cloud in the Industry?

Well the primary concern to all is its security and encapsulates a broader spectrum of problems such as (a) Concern about Cloud computing service provider, (b) Propagation of data within the Cloud, (c) Concerns about the Control

Keeping aside the concerns regarding security, its indeed possible to manage the known risks and experience the advantages of Cloud. Users can consider the suggestions listed below when opting for a Cloud Hosting Computing Solution

  • Strategic Thinking Approach : There are differences in the workloads hence every workload can be considered carefully and only deciding to shift it over to the Cloud. Careful consideration for each workload about the governance and cloud security needs should be determined and analyzed if it would fit appropriately within the Cloud infrastructure. Strategically evaluating the process and selecting the workloads accordingly and preventing the data proliferation can be easily achieved.
  • Defining Roles and Responsibilities based on Evaluations : Choosing between Public, hybrid and Private Cloud depends largely upon the end user and the provider much similar to any traditional IT solutions provider. Both the entities should be aware of their roles and responsibilities, such that, it is the responsibility of the service provider to take care of the aspect of security of the SaaS whereas if it is IaaS the end user or the consumer is the one who needs to bear the responsibility of maintaining the security of the VM’s.
  • Laying Down a Fool-Proof Back Up Strategy : Evaluating the measures laden by the service provider for Disaster Recovery and restoration, it should ideally involve off-site backup, availability of services, redundancy etc. Based on such evaluations you may design your own backup and restoration procedures that would further strengthen your existence over the Cloud.
  • Evaluate SLAs and Communication channels : Reliablecloud hosting service providers would have a perfectly designed SLA which would clearly define various factors such as uptime, alerts and notifications, restoration services, recovery strategies, turn-around-time for resolution, etc. You can also expect to receive proactive notifications regarding outages, issues, issue resolution procedures etc.

For businesses and users, it is equally important to test the services that the service providers claim to offer. The testing parameters can be based up performance checks, speed test evaluations, security functions for ensuring a safe existence of your business in a Cloud environment.

Moreover, it is equally important to do a recheck the parameters on a regular basis to achieve an optimum level of security and functionality.

  • Sticking to the basics : It is closely observed that many enterprises tend to invest in time and money in development and implementation of security strategies based on the latest available tools and techniques but fail to stick to the basics of risk assessment and management, policy development / enforcement, and rigorous validation of established and essential controls.

The following is a list of security issues as observed in the year 2011 :

  • Compromised security due to so called outdated vulnerabilities
  • Weak management policies
  • Delayed addressal to probable risks

Cloud is something which should not be considered any different that the traditional computing solutions. The vulnerabilities apply equally to every service offerings, there may be differences in managing them differently.

Ideally, it is responsibility of the organization and the service provider to know their individual responsibilities and act accordingly to ensure a safer and hassle free existence over the Cloud.


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