When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

Get Off Of My Cloud

Get Off Of My Cloud

One of the main detractors of cloud computing for the uninitiated is security.  With so many individuals having access to a service provider’s cloud, can there be a solid guarantee for any user that their information is safe?  The top concerns when considering using a cloud service are: identity protection; privacy issues and data safeguards.

The concept of identity protection encompasses two issues: user authentication and information encryption.  When using a cloud computing service, the unique personal login information of every subscriber must be inaccessible to not only other subscribers, but also to intruders both inside and outside the provider’s company.  Successful cloud providers base their business on the protection of their tenants and invest heavily in software and hardware security measures.  Related to the user’s personal information (name, address etc.) is a user’s financial information.  Information on payment methods (credit, debit, Paypal etc.) must be encrypted and have the industry’s most stringent access methods available.

Tied to identity protection is privacy; ensuring that a cloud tenant has the ability to keep their presence and activity in the cloud hidden.  As well, depending on the country where the hosting servers reside, there must be protection of tenant information from access to information requests or e-discovery.  To ensure confidence, service providers must furnish an inaccessible, legally bound virtual vault for every user.  Customers must feel that their information is as safe in the cloud infrastructure as it might be on their own computing device.

What might be the most important aspect of cloud computing for any consumer is safeguarding data.  Like a client’s information, the data must be protected and even encrypted not only on the cloud servers, but also in transit both to and from the cloud.  Whatever the data, the information must be accessible anywhere at anytime.  Server uptime and data availability is a critical deciding factor in choosing a cloud server storage option.  Also, data backup or disaster recovery protocols must an integral component of the server infrastructure.  In case of a server failure, there needs to be a failover option so that users are totally unaware on the surface of the cloud that there are problems with the support structure.

So long as any cloud provider addresses the worries of identity protection, privacy issues and data safeguards, any client, be they a novice or a veteran cloud user, can trust their security needs are a guarantee.

By Robin Berry

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