Cloud Insight

Overcoming Security Challenges Of The Cloud

21 Apr

Cloud computing is increasingly becoming the choice of many organizations as they look to reduce IT costs while increasing productivity and security. In simple terms, cloud computing refers to hosting your data outside of your organization’s servers or IT environment, often on shared server space, hosted by another company. While cloud services make it easy for organizations to provision an IT infrastructure quickly and at a reasonable cost, there are several challenges that come with it as well. It’s important to find a cloud provider who is aware of these challenges and takes every action to ensure these challenges do not affect their customers.

What are some of the common cloud computing challenges?

A common and well-known cloud computing challenge is securing data from breaches. A data breach occurs when a hacker or malicious outsider attempts to obtain private, previously secure data that the cloud provider is tasked with protecting. Not only does a cloud provider need to be an expert on securing the cloud, they also need to make sure that their client databases (especially in multi-tenant environments) are designed properly as to avoid instances of data breach.

Losing encrypted data can be another major headache in cloud computing, or in any environment. Of course, it’s important that data is encrypted to keep it secure. However, if the encryption key is lost, your data is gone along with it. Cloud providers must keep this in mind when provisioning environments for clients and making sure that the proper individuals can access encrypted data. Which leads to our next challenge…

Proper user authentication is imperative to successful cloud instances. Providers need to ensure that only the proper users are accessing the database. This may be in the form of data access logs or audit trails, among other things. It’s also important to secure the logs and trails.

Another common cloud computing challenge is securing your environment from APIs and third-party software. Some cloud service providers such as Microsoft do not allow third-party software or web parts to be installed in a Multi-Tenant environment without a “waiver” or strict permission. Seeing as multi-tenant is the most used and most cost-effective for many customers, they may not be able to use any third party add-ons if needed. However, some cloud providers do allow customers to add some of these other services, which could disrupt other tenants in the cloud environment. It’s important to know a provider’s policy when it comes to third-party services.

Finally, perhaps the biggest challenge of the cloud is understanding the cloud environment and its risks and benefits. What we mean is an organization should understand how a cloud environment will affect their business. Many customers have a simple understanding of the cloud and tend to jump on board before truly understanding how it will affect their day-to-day operations. The best cloud services providers will take the time explain how their environment is secured, how your data will be managed, and what steps are taken if a malicious attack occurs.

It’s important to remember that the cloud is a good thing. Customers shouldn’t be afraid of the cloud and should embrace its power and scalability. That being said, it’s also important to work with cloud providers who are experts in the space and can easily explain to customers the benefits and risks.

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