Cloud Computing Security Conundrum

Proof that a technology is gaining in popularity – it becomes a target for the bad guys. And so it goes for cloud computing.

The holiday shopping season shows the risks involved with cloud computing, as it can take as long as two months to fix security issues.

Also, Dave Rand, Trend Micro CTO, has explained why there are security problems in cloud computing.  He told

“Most cloud service providers don’t have any data backup strategy; there are no adequate security measures recording who’s accessing the data, and the reason is the effect on performance.”

A white paper prepared by the Cloud Security Alliance, “Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing, Version 2.1,” concurs with this thought.

“Security controls in cloud computing are, for the most part, no different than security controls in any IT environment. However, because of the cloud service models employed, the operational models, and the technologies used to enable cloud services, cloud computing may present different risks to an organization than traditional IT solutions. Cloud computing is about gracefully losing control while maintaining accountability even if the operational responsibility falls upon one or more third parties.”

One of the issues, the paper continues, is that improving security hinders the most attractive features of cloud computing.

“One of the attractions of cloud computing is the cost efficiencies afforded by economies of scale, reuse, and standardization. To bring these efficiencies to bear, cloud providers have to provide services that are flexible enough to serve the largest customer base possible, maximizing their addressable market. Unfortunately, integrating security into these solutions is often perceived as making them more rigid.”

Sun Microsystems, which supports the Cloud Security Alliance’s findings, has just introduced open source cloud security capabilities. The security tools help in securing data in transit, data at rest, and data in use in the cloud, and work with cloud offerings from leading vendors including Amazon and Eucalyptus.

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