Evaluating the safety of the cloud

cloud securityCloud computing is here and, thanks to the reduction on cost and flexibility it offers to companies, it’s likely it’s here to stay. But as it becomes part and parcel of modern day business, consumer worries have surfaced over cloud computing. And, for some, these centre around its safety and reliability. So just how safe is the Cloud?

The answer according to some is very and a recent report put trust in cloud computing in the US at 82 per cent. But others remain unconvinced.  Perhaps top of the list is building user trust in cloud computing, which is, no doubt, a concern for most organisations whether private or public. And according to the UK’S National Computing Centre it is this that is holding back whole-scale use of cloud computing. Perhaps the events of the past few years, which has seen several global companies losing private client information including pin numbers and credit card details, has left business wary. But Cloud supporters point to tight controls around security, and who has access to data, as providing relief of these specific fears. Other issues surround clarity and cloud licensing, which both lack standardisation, can also prove tricky.

And others point to the fact that the very newness of cloud computing means there’s a lack of IT professionals with skills needed. Another of the concerns is that, given the increasing size and reliance of cloud computing, criminals will not just see it as a target, but as a potential source of revenue. With data centralised, for instance, with one provider, some have argued that this makes theft easier. In other instances, there is the potential for cybercriminals to use the cloud technology to their own gains. One of the most recent instances of this is from Intel-owned McAfee, who, together with online banking security firm, Guardian Analytics, uncovered a sophisticated cloud-based global financial fraud system, which, although it’s not known exactly how much has been stolen, estimates it could be between $75 million to $2.5 billion.

But, despite these worries, cloud hacking hasn’t become big news, yet. And there’s been several in-roads into setting out guidance and processes for using Cloud services in the best and most secure way. These include the industry-wide initiatives to promote, as it were, a cloud security framework as well as the Cloud Security Alliance, which launched the first recognised certification in cloud security, called the Certificate in Cloud Security Knowledge.

Furthermore, as cloud computing offers large money saving, it’s likely we’ll see a growth in cloud usage. But will this mean a surge in cloud incidents? Perhaps. But experts are offering plenty of advice on how best to protect your business against these types of incidents and say, when it comes to cloud safety, although it’s good to be cautious, it isn’t complicated. They also suggest that the benefits of cloud computing can bring to businesses far outweigh any risks.

What’s more if companies follow certain guidelines, cloud computing operations are completely secure. Memset boss, and leading proponent of Cloud computing, Kate Craig-Wood suggests six questions to ask cloud companies, and with the right advice, the future looks to be in the cloud.

About the Author: Ben Jones is a tech writer, particularly interested in how technology can help businesses. He’s been assisting businesses in setting up cloud based IT services to a number of businesses around the south of England.

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