Cloud Security – Is The Cloud Insecure?

Cloud security is on the top of every CIO’s mind. Apparently some people even consider that cloud risks outweigh cloud benefits.  Unfortunately, an overzealous approach to cloud security can lead to arguments that detract from the real issues, with little to no analysis of the specific problems at hand.

Below is a list of cloud security issues that I believe affect large organizations:

  • Separation of duties Your existing company probably has separate application, networking and platform teams. The cloud may force a consolidation of these user groups. For example, in many companies the EC2 administrators are application programmers, have access to Security Groups (firewall) and can also spin up and take down virtual servers.
  • Home access to your servers Corporate environments are usually administered on-premise or through a VPN with two-factor authentication. Strict access controls are usually forgotten for the cloud, allowing administrators to access your cloud’s control panel from home and make changes as they see fit. Note further that cloud access keys/accounts may remain available to people who leave or get fired from your company, making home access an even bigger concern…
  • Difficulty in validating security Corporation are used to stringent access and audit controls for on-premise services, but maintaining and validating what’s happening in the cloud can become a secondary concern. This can lead some companies to lose track of the exact security posture of their cloud environments.
  • Appliances and specialized tools do not support the cloud Specialized tools may not be able to go into the cloud. For example, you may have Network Intrusion Detection appliances sitting in front of on-premise servers, and you will not be able to move such specialized boxes into the cloud. A move to Virtual Appliances may make this less of an issue for future cloud deployments.
  • Legislation and Regulations Cross border issues are a big challenge in the cloud. Privacy concerns may forbid certain user data from leaving your country, while foreign legislation may become an unneeded new challenge for your business. For example, a European business running systems on American soil may open themselves up to Patriot Act regulations.
  • Organizational processes Who has access to the cloud and what can they do? Can someone spin up an Extra Large machine and install their own software? How do you backup and restore data? Will you start replicating processes within your company simply because you’ve got a separate cloud infrastructure? Many companies are simply not familiar enough with the cloud to create the processes necessary for secure cloud operations.
  • Auditing challenges Any auditing activities that you normally undertake may be complicated if data is in the cloud. A good example is PCI — Can you actually prove that CC data is always within your control, even if it’s hosted outside of your environment somewhere in the cloud ether?
  • Public/private connectivity is a challenge Do you ever need to mix data between your public and private environments? It can become a challenge to send data between these two environments, and to do so securely. New technologies for cloud impedance matching may help.
  • Monitoring and logging You will likely have central systems monitoring your internal environment and collecting logs from your servers. Will you be able to achieve those same monitoring and log collection activities if you run servers off-premise?
  • Penetration testing Some companies run periodic penetration testing activities directly on public infrastructure. Cloud environments may not be as amenable to ‘hacking’ type activities from taking place on cloud infrastructure that they provide.

By Simon Ellis/Cloudtweaks Contributor


Simon is the owner of LabSlice, a new startup that allows companies to distribute Virtual Demos using the cloud.

One Response to Cloud Security – Is The Cloud Insecure?

Comics

At CloudTweaks, we're plugged into the cloud, the internet of things and all that the web has to offer. From wearable technology, to mobile computing, cloud computing and big data, CloudTweaks is your source for updates and news on the most innovative technology.

Popular

Top Viral Impact

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

Engine Yard Joins North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and Industry Collaborators to Unveil 2014 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Results SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 25, 2014) – Engine Yard, the leading cloud application management platform, today announced its role as a collaborator in releasing the results of the fourth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey,…

IBM and SAP Announce Industry’s Largest Cloud Deal

IBM and SAP Announce Industry’s Largest Cloud Deal

IBM and SAP Announce Industry’s Largest Cloud Deal IBM and SAP have shaken the cloud computing world this afternoon with the announcement of one of the largest cloud deals in the industry’s history – bringing together two of the largest technology companies in a bid to offer a more holistic service to their clients. SAP…

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud app and analytics company, Netskope released its quarterly Cloud Report. The new report reveals that enterprise employees are using an average of 397 different cloud apps (most of which are unsanctioned), when IT estimated they have 40-50 — that’s a tenfold underestimation. Below is an infographic provided courtesy of the group at Netskope which goes into further detail.…

Monetization of the Internet of Things – Q&A With Brendan O’Brien

Monetization of the Internet of Things – Q&A With Brendan O’Brien

Q&A With Brendan O’Brien, Co-Founder of Aria Systems (Part 1) Monetization of the internet of things (IoT) is one of the most exciting and challenging issues facing the industry today, so we spoke with Brendan O’Brien to learn more. Brendan is the Co-Founder of Aria Systems, who are one of the leading innovators in recurring…

The Business Benefits of Cloud CRM

The Business Benefits of Cloud CRM

The Business Benefits of Cloud CRM From software deployment, to mobility, to wearable technology, cloud computing has transformed seemingly every aspect of modern business. Research indicates cloud applications and platforms will be at the forefront of IT spending by 2016, with half of all enterprises implementing cloud solutions by 2017. One of the quickest markets…

Featured Sponsors

2015 Advertising Opportunities - Find Out More!

Cloud Logo Sponsors

hp Logo CityCloud-PoweredByOpenstack-Bluesquare_logo_100x100-01
cisco_logo_100x100 vmware citrix100

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

Contact

CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Join Our Newsletter