How Cloud Computing Companies Make Their Data Centers Hacker-Proof

Cloud computing naysayers have long cited security and privacy as their number one concerns. While more and more companies are adopting cloud services, many corporations and small businesses are still hesitant to embrace the cloud because of concerns about lax security and hacker attacks.

Companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon claim to have extremely strong security and have never reported a major security breach. But smaller companies like Dropbox and Zappos have, but the breaches were typically due to internal programming bugs. The question is, should consumers believe that their data is safe with major cloud players? Can cloud computing giants really deliver on their security promises? The answer, in most cases, is a resounding yes.

The largest U.S. data centers are almost always certified by the federal government under programs like FISMA and SAS 70 Type II certification. Cloud companies that hold these designations have implemented physical and cyber security measures.

Data center security starts with physical security. Large data centers typically employ a sizable number of armed guards, as well as technological measures such as high-resolution video monitoring, motion tracking, and analytics software, biometric and/or electronic keycard locks, and extremely strict policies on who has access to servers and other sensitive equipment. Employees are also subject to background checks and screenings as thorough as possible for non-defense organizations.

Companies employ multiple methods to ensure data security. These typically include both data/disk encryption and “data obfuscation,” a process in which even unencrypted data is made illegible to humans and standard computer programs. Obfuscated data is only rendered in clear text or images once it is relayed from the server backend to proprietary frontend interfaces, such as Gmail, Hotmail, and QuickBooks Online. Companies also go to great lengths to ensure physical data security. Deleted data is destroyed using complex wiping algorithms and then overwritten by other real data. Discarded hard drives are physically destroyed, rendering data recovery impossible.

At the network level, cloud companies deploy both human analysts and highly complex algorithms to analyze network packet traffic and look for any anomalies. Suspicious packets are automatically dropped and IP addresses blocked if necessary. Most companies also employ complex security protocols that require any service contacting data center servers to possess a uniquely assigned internal identity. If a network query cannot identify itself as a legitimate request from an internal service, then the connection is terminated. Other network security measures include complex, multi-level routing to detect and block malicious activity, and advanced firewalls.

At the operating system and physical server level, companies typically develop their own flavours of Linux or UNIX which are unknown outside the company, almost impossible to target with malware and viruses due to both software security measures and their obscurity, and constantly updated. Servers are also only accessible by authorized employees with unique identification numbers, and all activity is logged and monitored by both automated software and human supervisors.

Overall, data center security is extremely sophisticated and constantly evolving, leaving virtually all hackers in the dust and making it all but impossible for internal employees to inappropriately access customer information. No contemporary computer system can be completely secure, but most businesses’ data is far less secure on their own servers and computers than it is in a federally certified data center.

By Robert Shaw

Robert

Robert Shaw was an early entrant into the cloud computing sector, working as a consultant for Accenture on server virtualization and software-as-a-service migration. He has also been a technical editor for eHow and other web properties and still provides local IT consulting services.

One Response to How Cloud Computing Companies Make Their Data Centers Hacker-Proof

  1. I agree that because of their scale and the fact it’s their core business, security of cloud providers will in most cases be best of class. However: Any data stored on US soil (cloud or not) can be pulled by the US government under the Patriot Act. This is unacceptable for a lot of companies, such as banks or other financial institutions. This would really favor Cloud providers that can indicate where data is (globally) stored outside of the US.

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate long term with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

Please review the guidelines before applying.

Contributors

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare There are so many exciting new opportunities available to utilize wearable technology in the future.  Areas such as nanotechnology disease monitoring, crowdfunding to wearable accessories are some excellent examples of the potential. Estimates vary, but appear to suggest that the market will produce between $14-50 Billion over the next few years. Included below

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips for Successful Business Intelligence Implementation The cost of Business Intelligence (BI) software goes far beyond the purchase price. Time spent researching, implementing, and maintaining your BI investment can snowball quickly and mistakes are often expensive. Your time is valuable – save it by learning from other businesses’ experiences. We’ve compiled the top ten

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

How Do These Two Compare? In Boy Scouts, I learned how to tie knots. The quickest knot you can tie is the slipknot. It’s very effective for connecting one thing to another via the rope you have. It was used in setting up tents, mooring boats to docks temporarily and lifting your food up into

Big Data

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries The poor of the developing countries are becoming increasingly connected, to the point where they too are part of the Big Data revolution that’s happening across the globe. It didn’t come with laptops, though, as some supposed it would. Whereas it costs a fortune to connect broadband to a

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data in Your Garden Big Data and IoT initiatives are springing up all across the globe, making cities, protesters–and just about everything else–smarter. However, thus far there’s been little attention paid to the interactions between these bizarre technologies and living things other than humans. Biology, that is, human biology is one field where Big

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Big Data and City Management Cities like New York, Madrid, and especially Rio de Janeiro are augmented with Big Data-powered initiatives that range from combating crime with predictive analytics (New York & Madrid) to providing real-time data for improved management. Although Big Data is no panacea and is mainly used in conjunction with a greater

Internet of Things

Gartner Research – Homes In 2022 Will Contain Hundreds Of Smart Objects

Gartner Research – Homes In 2022 Will Contain Hundreds Of Smart Objects

How the Internet of Things is Saving Lives Just hearing the phrase ‘internet of things’ is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many elderly people. As the world’s economy shifts increasingly towards online-only, the oldest people among us often feel left behind, confused that the ‘way things used to be done’ – the

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital? We all know the capitals of fashion are London, New York and Paris, while the capital of film is Hollywood (or Bollywood!) – but what’s the new capital of the internet? Specifically, the internet of things? The answer – according to new research by Ozy – might surprise you. It’s not Tokyo, Seoul,

Aggregated News

Popular News Sources

Security Startup – Illumio, Is Winning Big Contracts

Security Startup – Illumio, Is Winning Big Contracts

Security Startup – Illumio A hot new security startup called Illumio has launched today with a repertoire of highly coveted businesses as part of their client portfolio. Illumio today publicly unveiled its Adaptive Security Platform (ASP), the first-ever software platform that provides granular visibility and security for all data center and cloud computing environments. Global

Bits Blog: Coming of Age in Cloud Computing

Bits Blog: Coming of Age in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has been criticized as undependable and tough to manage. A number of recent announcements suggest that some companies are trying to address the issue. Read the source article at NY Times About Latest Posts RobertRobert Shaw was an early entrant into the cloud computing sector, working as a consultant for Accenture on server

Bitcasa Partners With Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong

Bitcasa Partners With Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong

Bitcasa Partners With Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong 3 Hong Kong, the mobile operation of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Limited today announced the launch of 3 Super Cloud, a multi-platform cloud storage service, powered by Bitcasa, the … Read the source article at Yahoo Finance About Latest Posts RobertRobert Shaw was an early entrant into the