Security/Privacy Concerns associated with Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the IT industry. This new-age technology provides its users with many benefits. Using the cloud platform, companies can get access to high-quality business applications quickly, at an affordable cost. But with the increase in the number of individuals and companies that are associated with the cloud, the concerns regarding the security of the system are also on the rise. The Internet as such lacks the basic protocols to ensure the security of things as they are. This adds to the many security issues that are associated with cloud computing technology. These can include the security issues that are faced by customers as well as service providers.
The customer concerns
Cloud computing customers need to be aware of the risks that they can face in this new computing environment. Depending upon the locale of the service provider, certain laws may allow foreign access to information. Certain acts may also give the ruling government the authority to access the information on demand without any public scrutiny or objection. These factors need to be considered by the customer before choosing a cloud service provider.
To ensure security within a cloud, the customers should carry out an assessment of he provider’s encryption levels, data aggregation methods, and access protocols before performing cloud data transfer. Customers should also determine whether it is suitable to transfer information into the cloud environment. See whether the potential benefits of cloud computing outweigh the security risks that can follow. You should also have a clear idea about what all safeguards need to be mentioned in the service contract.
Valuable data regarding the enterprise will be present outside the firewall of your company and this can give rise to problems like hacking and theft of data. The service providers will be working in collaboration with a number of companies. So it is essential that the user is aware of all third party companies that could potentially access their information. Customers, whether companies or individuals, need to be vigilant on how they assign passwords and how the passwords are being changed.
The amount of downtime that the user is able to obtain should also be considered as an important factor that can affect the security of the system. The user should ask for the reliability reports of the service provider to see whether the downtime received meets the business requirements.
A customer who handles sensitive information on the cloud should perform a personal audit about the security status of the hosting company. The customer can also ask the service provider to conduct an internal audit and then provide the former with a copy of the same. They should minimize administrative privileges and support the enforcement of rules of least privilege. Look into the penalties and guarantees that are applicable in the concerned jurisdiction. Also, inquire if the cloud provider you select will incorporate all your own security policies into the cloud system.
It is advised that the client should have multiple backups of the cloud data. Do not keep the same password for multiple accounts. Do develop good policies regarding the creation, protection, and change of the passwords. The customer should understand that it is his responsibility to check whether the software he is using is up to date. Also, it is recommended that you use antivirus software so that you will not be subjected to hacking or virus attacks while performing cloud computing operations.
Concerns of the service provider
Data security is a key risk factor for many cloud servicing companies. This gains importance when the data to be transferred to the service provider is sensitive in nature and is held off-shore.
The cloud computing companies should know whether the new software that is installed will change the security settings of the former. For each and every update, the security requirements of every user in the system need to be reviewed. The authorities should be extra-cautious in matters regarding the new updates. Make sure that the new updates do not provide the staff with any unwanted and unauthorized access to privileges that they are not supposed to have.
If the data transferred within a cloud is private, that is, if it helps in identifying an individual or an organization, then complying with privacy policies is essential. The data protection laws in the jurisdiction have to be inquired about and are to be followed strictly. Cloud computing companies should make sure that their customers comply with the regulations regarding the storage of data and its usage within the cloud.
The cloud service providers should immediately notify their clients in case any security breaches regarding the information present in the cloud is made. Hacking the system can affect multiple clients even if only one client site is being attacked. A cloud computing security system which employs data loss software and encrypted file systems can be used to minimize these risks.
Cloud computing security refers to a whole set of policies which is used for protecting the technologies and applications related to cloud computing software. There are many types of cloud security control which can be implemented. The correct security control measure should be implemented based on the threat and the vulnerability of the system to these threats.
One type of cloud computing security is the deterrent control. This type of control is used to prevent planned attacks on the cloud security system. Preventative controls are used to upgrade the strength of the system by taking into consideration all the vulnerabilities. Detective controls can be used to detect the attacks that may be occurring in a system and corrective controls can be used to reduce the effect of an attack that has somehow taken place.
The cloud system is economically viable. But then it will turn out to be an expensive practice for those who fail to implement a solid security measure for the virtual environment. To avoid undesirable scenarios, the cloud service provider should see that the cloud computing security measures are employed while the customer should check out if the provider has all the necessary security requirements in place.