David Wray
David Wray 8 February 2016
Categories Technology

Modern Business Infrastructures: Security Concerns Of Working In The Cloud

What is the cloud? If you’re like a lot of businesses, you’re still not using it for operations. You’ve heard of it, sure, but you’re still not sure how or if it can even help your business. Here’s what you need to know, including security concerns many business owners have.

What Is It?

The cloud is basically this massive storage and processing centre that’s housed in a high-security facility instead of your office. The cloud is basically just a metaphor for the Internet. It ‘s a phrase that was born out of a time when the Internet as a huge server farm was pictured in flowcharts and presentations as this big cloud, dispensing data as it floated around.

Cloud computing does not rely on your hard drive. Instead, storage and operating systems reside off-site. Of course, you need a computer and operating system to access the information. And, practically speaking, it does require some kind of hard drive, if only because of the local operating system on your computer.

Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry has functioned for decades.

You would purchase software, install it, and then maintain it with updates that were pushed out on floppy disks, then CDs, then DVDs.

Today, an entire industry exists to maintain your data, and applications so that you don’t need to install anything on your computer. You just access it via the Internet. But, why do this?

Resources Can Be Partitioned

If you house applications and data on your own hard drive, you’re restricted as to how much storage you have. If your hard drive fills up, you don’t have any more storage and you can’t install anything else on your computer.

If you operate in the cloud, this is a non-issue. You have almost none of the issues you have with local storage, and you can physically separate things like development and production environments, and even applications.

But, if you need to, you can also reconfigure them.

This enhances data security and makes it more difficult for secure data to be leaked outside of your company.

There is Better Authentication

Cloud computing is a shared environment, and companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) have made large investments in building secure authentication mechanisms. And, because there are companies like AWS, whose sole reason for existing is to provide cloud services, you benefit from the massive R&D that went into building out that infrastructure.

Most businesses simply don’t have the time or money to build what Amazon has.

And, even if they could, they don’t have the trained professionals that a service provider like Amazon has.

Everything Is Encrypted

The cloud is very secure - probably more secure than your internal environment. One way the cloud stays more secure is through encryption technologies. AWS, for example, offers businesses the ability to encrypt S3 and EBS, along with hardware appliance-based key management and encryption under the CloudHSM platform.

Cloud service providers also use companies like Sec-Tec Ltd to perform penetration testing. Penetration testing tests a company’s ability to resist attacks from outside and internal threats (hackers).

Cloud Providers Often Focus On Compliance

Cloud providers are hyper-focused on compliance, and use a wide range of certifications to ensure that minimum standards are met for service. For example, Amazon holds various certifications for PCI DSS Level 1, SOC3, FIPS 140-2, SOC1/ISAE 3402, SOC2, CSA, Section 508/VPAT, DIACAP and FISMA, HIPAA, FedRAMP, MPAA, DOC, ISO 9001, CJIS, FERBA, G-Cloud, CSM Levels 1-2 & 305, Australian IRAP, MTCS Tier 3, IT-Grundschutz, and ITAR.

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