Can Cloud Computing Effectively Help Prevent Cybercrime?

Can Cloud Computing Effectively Help Prevent Cybercrime?

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We stand on the edge of the digital age, where technology moves quickly, and our lives have been transformed by modern computing. Digitization has resulted in a staggering amount of information flowing through cyberspace. Processing that data has led to a revolution in how we store and access information.

The idea of the cloud is nothing new. Considered as far back as the 1960s, it was the principle on which the internet was developed. The term “cloud” was coined in the 1990s with the advent of virtual private networks.

Initially used for simplifying business processes, the application of cloud computing quickly gained popularity among scientific and gaming communities as well.

Today the cloud has transcended some of its earlier models and is now widely accepted as a secure means of data storage and shared processing power. Its application in science is vastly accelerating research and has been used with particular success in astronomy.

Despite this, online security remains a hot topic and the internet presents ongoing security concerns. The UK government has stated that cybercrime is a bigger threat than nuclear weapons, with an estimated £27 billion cost a year.

Cybercrime is often the result of poor security protocols and unaffordable IT support for many businesses and individuals. Weak wireless passwords and unencrypted, solid-state storage are often cited as the biggest threats to online security. The advancement of cloud computing offers a reliable solution to these vulnerabilities.

Clouds are not single point servers. They rely on a network of encrypted servers configured to spread information across a wide area. With larger companies and professional web-networks such as Google and Cisco, this methodology ensures a strong architecture and reduces the threat posed by hackers.

The obvious benefit of this system is to remove information from fixed points such as localised networks and individual machines. It effectively eliminates vulnerable access points to data storage and protects against unapproved software installation.

The nature of information spreading does, however, open cloud networks to prolonged attacks designed to identify weak points in security. If one server has weakened defences it provides easy access to other localities in the network.

Many governments consider internet regulation the answer to online security issues. The industry stands firm against it, suggesting regulation will throw up compromises to data ownership, access and security protocols depending on the location of servers.

The answer proposed by the industry is for a self-regulatory body dedicated to research and development of stronger cloud security systems. The idea is of a conglomerate effect as the more people who use the cloud, the stronger it becomes.

The implementation of standardised protocols would further enhance security for weaker systems while providing regulatory standards and anticipating future threats.

So, can cloud computing prevent cybercrime? Certainly by limiting solid state access points, there is a mathematical probability that the security web is stronger. Many are still reluctant to trust third party storage, but the evidence does seem to support the idea that dedicated cloud based security is a step in the right direction.

By Akash Valand,

Akash has worked on behalf of several clients offering marketing, research and insight. Most recently security firm  http://www.wickhill.com

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Comments

  1. ulfmattsson126 says

    I agree that “Many governments consider internet
    regulation the answer to online security issues”. We have to live with
    many current regulations. It is also interesting to see how organizations are
    desperately looking for effective ways to comply to new stringent privacy regulations
    when offshoring data.
    I reviewed an interesting offshoring project in Europe that
    addressed the challenge to protect sensitive information about individuals in a
    way that will satisfy European Cross Border Data Security requirements. This
    included incoming source data from various European banking entities, and
    existing data within those systems, which would be consolidated in one European
    country.
    The project achieved targeted compliance with EU Cross
    Border Data Security laws, Datenschutzgesetz 2000 – DSG 2000 in Austria, and Bundesdatenschutzgesetz
    in Germany by using a data tokenization approach, protecting the data before
    sending and storing it in the cloud.
    I recently read an interesting report from the Aberdeen
    Group that revealed that “Over the last 12 months, tokenization users had
    50% fewer security-related incidents(e.g., unauthorized access, data loss or
    data exposure than tokenization non-users”. Nearly half of the respondents
    (47%) are currently using tokenization for something other than cardholder data
    The name of the study, released a few months ago, is “Tokenization Gets
    Traction”. Aberdeen has also seen “a steady increase in enterprise
    use of tokenization as an alternative to encryption for protecting sensitive
    data”.
    Below are a few words of guidance from the payment card
    industry, PCI SSC. The guidance is applicable for all sensitive data that is
    sent to the cloud. If you outsource to a public-cloud provider, they often have
    multiple data storage systems located in multiple data centers, which may often
    be in multiple countries or regions. Consequently, the client may not know the
    location of their data, or the data may exist in one or more of several
    locations at any particular time.
    Additionally, a client may have little or no visibility into
    the controls protecting their stored data. This can make validation of data security
    and access controls for a specific data set particularly challenging.
    In a public-cloud environment, one client’s data is
    typically stored with data belonging to multiple other clients. This makes a
    public cloud an attractive target for attackers, as the potential gain may be
    greater than that to be attained from attacking a number of organizations
    individually.
    Ulf Mattsson, CTO Protegrity


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