Ensuring that your data remains secure is the single most important aspect of any cloud computing service. While cloud services use state of the art security, there are still risks involved. It’s imperative that businesses have a thorough understanding of these risks early in the planning process. The issues can then be addressed with the service provider before either party becomes bound by service contract.
Areas of risk for a cloud computing solution can be divided into two basic categories, security and reliability. Service providers will be upfront with both aspects, but no solution is perfect. Data cannot be placed in the cloud and remain impervious to security threats. Likewise, no service provider will guarantee 100% uptime. Even a seemingly high 99.9% uptime means that there is room for 9 hours of outages every year. Companies will l need to evaluate their risk tolerance carefully.
Cloud computing service providers know that security is at the heart of their products. They have taking varying approaches to ensuring the safety of their client’s data. This variation means that the security practices and policies of providers differ. There is no established standard for cloud computing security. Each potential client will need to review the security features of each provider to be sure that their critical data will be protected.
It’s too easy to think of cloud computing as being located anywhere and everywhere all at the same time. The fact of the matter is that even though data is considered to be stored in the cloud, it’s actually sitting on storage media in data centers around the world. Each of these data centers is subject to the privacy and security laws of the country in which it is located. Business should be familiar with the laws and policies of the service providers host countries.
Any company considering the cloud, or already operating in the cloud, must be vigilant. After updates are deployed, ensure that access control remains intact. Know where your data is being held and what laws apply. Use an outside consultant to perform a security and reliability audit on your provider. Have a clear understanding of service level commitments and compensations.
The benefits of cloud computing far outweigh the risks, but that doesn’t mean the risks can be ignored. There are risks involved in cloud computing, all of which can be reduced by careful planning and monitoring.
About the Author: Deney Dentel is the CEO at Nordisk Systems, Inc. Nordisk Systems is the only local Nexenta certified partner in Portland, Oregon delivers enterprise class storage with the amount of physical space that your data center possesses.
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