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Network Security

So, Is the Cloud Secure or Not? IT Managers Wary

So, Is the Cloud Secure or Not? IT Managers Wary
April 2, 2013 3:03PM

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On average, U.S. companies have moved one-quarter of all their business functions and services to the cloud, the most popular being e-commerce (41 percent), closely followed by e-mail (39 percent) and storage (30 percent). Many respondents have plans to migrate additional applications soon. But IT managers have security concerns.

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There's a security gap in the cloud era -- or at least a perceived security gap. So says a new survey from AccelOps that asked 176 IT security professionals about their security practices during the RSA Conference 2013.

While 65 percent of organizations are using cloud services, only 46 percent have moved mission-critical applications and data outside the enterprise, due to cloud security concerns. Thirty-nine percent believe their existing Security Information and Event Monitoring tools are not acceptable to support their cloud security and regulatory compliance requirements.

"It's a sad indictment of the security industry that, in such a well-established market as SIEM and performance monitoring, 39 percent of those surveyed indicated they could not rely on their existing SIEM and monitoring solutions to ensure cloud security and compliance," said Flint Brenton, president and CEO of AccelOps, which offers SIEM products. "There is much work to be done to ensure that security threats and the risk of data loss associated with cloud environments are minimized."

Managing Risks

The "bring your own device" trend, data control and potential data loss top the cloud security concerns, closely followed by enforcing security policies and ensuring visibility across both traditional and cloud infrastructures.

The survey also shows that the responsibility for cloud security remains overwhelmingly with the internal IT staff at 78 percent, and only 13 percent of those surveyed hold their Managed Service Providers (MSPs) responsible for cloud security.

"The promise of cloud computing is to improve agility and deliver greater efficiencies and cost savings," Brenton said. "However, unless risk can be managed and data secured effectively, organizations will not fully benefit from the advantages of the cloud."

Insecure Perceptions

Cloud security firm SilverSky recently conducted a cloud adoption study. The survey found that 97 percent of security execs indicate their confidence level in the cloud has either increased or stayed the same in the past 12 months.

On average, U.S. companies have moved one-quarter of all their business functions and services to the cloud, the most popular being e-commerce (41 percent), closely followed by e-mail (39 percent) and storage (30 percent). Many respondents have plans to migrate additional applications soon.

Andrew Jaquith, CTO at SilverSky, said the idea that the cloud is not as secure as on-premise systems remains the biggest obstacle to widespread cloud adoption.

"In reality, the cloud has proven equally to more secure. For example, downtime of on-premise solutions continues to outpace the cloud. Cloud vendors commit to and generally meet a 99.9 percent uptime threshold as part of its SLA [service-level agreement]; a level of service that cannot be easily replicated by on-premise solutions," Jaquith told us.

"When CIOs and security decision-makers move their critical workloads to the cloud, they seek providers that cut their costs, simplify their architectures and protect their data. But equally important, they are making a leap of faith by entrusting services they can't do without to someone they don't know -- that's why transparency, clarity and assurance are so essential in building trust between the customer and cloud service provider."

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

AC:

Posted: 2013-05-20 @ 10:44am PT
If the cloud is secure why do all service providers indemnify themselves from any and all liability? The services are pretty much sold "as is". Who cares about and SLA, I can really use a couple of dollars back from an outage to deal with a data breach caused by a vendors configuration error.

Maureen Robinson:

Posted: 2013-04-12 @ 4:31am PT
Indeed, when moving to the cloud, businesses are dealing with several security holes. Many of these are problems caused by the fact that software is written by people with little training in application security. However, there are other issues with security in the cloud. For a better understanding of this topic I recommend reading further the following article http://blog.securityinnovation.com/blog/2011/06/application-security-in-the-cloud-dealing-with-aas-holes.html and document upon the solutions that are available when using cloud to ensure your applications can defend themselves in the cloud: https://securityinnovation.com/solutions/by-platform/cloud.html

Ulf Mattsson:

Posted: 2013-04-09 @ 8:40am PT
This is my view: I think that even if The Cloud may not be a sufficiently secure platform for some data, your sensitive Data on that platform can be secure. The cloud architecture is fundamentally based on sharing resources and moving data around for scalability. This is in conflict with some basic principles for security and compliance, like PCI DSS for payment data, and we can expect that regulatory requirements and also attacks on data will continue to increase over time.

The data should be secured in a granular fashion to allow different data classification levels and to allow applications to effectively operate on selective portions of the data. Securing the sensitive data-flow with data tokenization can be highly cost effective for compliance and also to mitigate data breaches. The tokenized data holds no value to a potential thief, and the data will still be available for analytics and business processes.

Ulf Mattsson | CTO | Protegrity



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