Evaluating Security Concerns with Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing is real and companies of all types and sizes are jumping on the bandwagon. With the total market size from various analyst firms ranging from $10B to $25B, there’s no stopping it. Cost and flexibility are certainly key in driving the popularity for cloud computing but as companies and organizations look at cloud computing as an alternative, security continues to be the #1 concern and can be a thorn in the rosy outlook. Here are some of the key issues related to security to keep in mind when reviewing your options:

  • Physical Security – You want to make sure that physical security around the infrastructure is very tight – even tighter than in your environment. Be sure to ask your provider for their physical security policies. Every cloud vendor should have a clear architecture related to their physical security.
  • Data Encryption – Cloud environments are shared and your data is in the same environment alongside data from other customers. Breaches can easily happen from one database to another. Be sure to find out how cloud providers protect sensitive data in storage infrastructure? What kinds of logs are available? How is the data encrypted?
  • Third party Relationships – You are as strong as your weakest link. And, in corporate environments, your weakest link could be your integration with your partners. With a cloud provider, this is even more important due to integration of various third parties and applications into the environment. Find out how cloud providers enforce security processes for their integrations with third parties.
  • Network Security – Cloud providers need to ensure that their perimeter is secure and barrier to attacks is high. Be sure to ask about what devices are being used to keep hackers from getting in through the perimeter.
  • Application Security – With over 75% of attacks happening through Web applications, this becomes a critical piece in the overall cloud decision making process. Although the exposure is similar to what you would have in your own environment, it’s on a massive scale and you may not have any control over it.

Cloud computing offers a lot of benefits. Although security is a big issue, it should not deter you away from looking at all the options. The key is to do proper due diligence with your cloud providers and really understand their Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Ask the right questions and take your time in selecting the right provider for you based on your requirements and risk appetite. For more information on if cloud computing is right for you, contact the experts at Borek Business Solutions.

By Roger Borek, Borek Business Solutions, Oregon-based Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner.

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