Where does security stand on mobile cloud computing? Arguably, security is still one most significant concerns of Cloud customers. As more and more businesses continue to transition their mainstream Cloud-based I.T operations on Mobile-ready applications, it has opened the lid for security Vulnerabilities in organizations.
Although, the adoption of Cloud and Mobile computing is getting bigger, with the majority of organizations and enterprises adopting this trend, it is, still, of immense importance for the general public to understand the consequences of any cyber-attack, as well as plan ahead to out-maneuver any such incidents.
Although, organizations seem to be quite concerned about the impeding security threats in the background of Mobile Cloud Computing, they fear such incidents may incur via non-sanctioned Mobile apps used by the I.T departments at organizations. But there are other factors besides the role that I.T can play here. Reckless actions by employees, as well as involuntary decisions by a Cloud Service Provider, can also damage an organization’s reputation, in spite of the many security control points in place. The Cloud and the Mobile can seriously affect organizations if not played on with caution.
In the U.K alone, financial losses from cyber -attacks has been estimated to be £27bn a year. With such high figures, corporate brands, business leaders, and entrepreneurs need to address this issue with extreme urgency, and put measures in place in order to be able to respond quickly and swiftly.
The Mobile Cloud Computing environment
While facts draw a scarier picture of Mobile Cloud Computing environment, there have been many happily-ever-afters. By nature, the Cloud is no Oliver Twist. It is easier to adopt the Cloud, and with Mobile First strategies making successful rounds, the two had to offer something beyond independent solutions. The consonant relationship between the Cloud and the Mobile is an ode to that idea. However, the ease that Mobile adoption of Cloud offers to organizations, makes it one appealing prospect for them. Various organizations are now planning to move up their usage of Mobile-ready Cloud applications. Still, seventy percent of such businesses admit that they use applications that are sanctioned by their own I.T departments. This was found out via a survey of two hundred I.T business professionals on the adoption and relying security issues of Mobile-ready Cloud applications, and was conducted by OneLogic and FlyingPenguin.
The Present Era
We are all indulged in Cloud Computing today in one way or other, without even realizing it. For emails, messaging, online Gaming and social networking and even for online tax forms, transactions, credit card payments and what not, this all has been a revolution that now has made “Mobility” a synonym with “Cloud”. However, this is only just beginning.
It is also known that usage of Cloud applications is carried out from nearly 80 percent of the smart phones, 71 percent of tablets and again 80 percent through non-organizational computers. Apart from hacks, data interceptions, it is high time for such masses to cite concerns regarding identity theft, governance or complexity.
Various companies do admit that their employees share credentials with co-workers for various Cloud ready apps through smart phones, and they experience employees being able to log in even after leaving the premises.
We know that the future is going to be held by virtual reins, all accessible through smart handheld devices. It is essential for organizations to inhibit the usage of unsanctioned apps and restrict the sharing of valuable credentials via Smartphones quickly.
It is no secret that organizations need to improve the security for their Cloud apps -not to mention, eliminating the usage of Cloud apps without their consent- and find solutions that are flexible and allow the on-premise addition of more Cloud apps.
With constantly emerging new security threats, certain companies have also evolved their methodology in dealing with these risks. Now it is all about “digital hygiene” and according to research most of the companies are now employing a full time security teams. In the past, only 43% of businesses had adequate security measures. However, now more companies are heading to re-examine Cloud security in a more systematic way. However, many organizations still implement such security policies after an incident or because of a new regulation.
These days, many smart organizations are pursuing a rather three-dimensional approach in securing their Cloud architecture from breaches. Previously, businesses felt that only installing technical devices would suffice their security needs but they ended up being by passed all at once. However, now the key to security is diversified by 25% being the technical aspects, 50% being the internal organizational aspects and the rest being regulatory and legal. Here, utilization of various VPN services may also shine in securing your Cloud architectures when it is accessed via Mobiles, tablets etc. The high level encryptions that VPN provides are ideal to safeguard data transition via Mobile phones. This 3d security protocol is what businesses need to rely on.
Afterwards, businesses also need to encourage training sessions for their employees to make them aware of underlying security threats and vulnerabilities. Organizations also need to manufacture stern I.T security rules, where they would be able to set parameters that could not be bypassed by human resource. Security management here, also need to be in complete coordination with their general management, and they must also remember to consistently update their existing security procedures.
There is no doubt that Mobile Cloud computing is not without any risks. However, with scrutiny and effort taken by the companies involved in this profitable prospect, these risks are addressable and manageable. Once such issues are solved, and companies empower themselves with the three legged security methodology, there I.T processes are sure to go smooth, in so doing, providing numerous benefits to the company.
By Pere Hospital:
Pere Hospital (CISSP & OSCP) is the CTO and co-founder of Cloudways Ltd. He has over two decades of experience in IT Security, Risk Analysis and Virtualization Technologies. You can follow Pere on Twitter at @phospital, or learn more about Cloudways.