Navigating the Security Maze for Cloud Computing

Grazed from Wired. Author: Ryan Kean.

Cloud computing offers a value proposition that is different from traditional enterprise IT environments. By providing a way to exploit virtualization and aggregate computing resources, cloud computing can offer economies of scale that would otherwise be unavailable. The elastic nature of cloud computing provides near immediate access to resources. This is in contrast to the traditional approach of investing capital, resources and time in designing and implementing infrastructure (hardware and middleware). This allows organizations to drive to realize business benefits faster by shortening time to market.

Understand the benefits and risks

While the benefits of cloud computing can be very persuasive, consumers must have a clear understanding of potential security benefits and risks of a potential cloud provider. This allows a consumer to set realistic expectations with their internal business partners as well as the cloud provider. Transitioning to public cloud computing involves a transfer of responsibility and control to the cloud provider over information as well as system components that were previously under the organization’s direct control. The transition is usually accompanied by loss of direct control over the management of operations and also a loss of influence over decisions made about the computing environment...

While security risks need to be addressed, use of cloud computing provides opportunities for innovation in provisioning security services that hold the prospect of improving the overall security of many organizations. Cloud service providers should be able to offer advanced facilities for supporting security and privacy due to their economies of scale and automation capabilities – potentially a boon to all consumer organizations, especially those who have limited numbers of personnel with advanced security skills...

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