Cloud computing is the latest buzzword in IT security and one of the fastest expanding areas of the web, but it still has a long way to go
Cloud-based systems have been with us for some time. While there are many advantages of moving to cloud-based systems, some elements can be detrimental. Moving services can reduce the total cost of ownership, with the overhead of administering physical systems being transferred to the cloud provider. However, this also means that you may have to trust your cloud provider for security.
When the data that you are storing in the cloud is important to your business, the security of that data should be important too. How secure that data is has become a hotly debated topic.
Many organisations fear the cloud will be hacked – increasingly so since major incidents are becoming more common. Security questions spring from concerns over control and accountability. When an organisation puts data in a cloud service, as opposed to hosting the data on its own server, it loses some of the ability to implement security features that it feels are most appropriate. Instead it leaves those decisions to the cloud provider.
Cloud providers generally offer a number of different security options depending on the package. Some out-of-the-box services offer a range of security configuration options to help provide some level of protection. Others may offer no security protection, leaving that up to you and your organisation.
During a time when cyber security attacks are increasing, organisations need to take the cloud more seriously and look closely at how it is being utilised. If used wisely, it can provide excellent business benefits.
However, these need to be backed by appropriate risk management and cyber-security tools.
Ian Whiting is CEO of Titania, a software development company with a global customer base delivering IT security software solutions.