Cloud computing: the five challenges of cloud security

Cloud security is a hot topic for many organizations. At Infosec 2011, Darren Jones, a Senior Systems Engineer at BT’s partner Crossbeam has broken down the different elements into five challenges of cloud security.

According to Darren Jones, one of the main perceptions or expectations people have is that moving to the cloud improves security. It’s going to do that in a number of ways, he says, but there is more.

Discover what is a main cloud security fear factor, what are the five challenges of cloud security from the service provider end and how you can address those cloud security challenges.

Cloud computing security expectations and fears

Businesses are centralizing a lot of data in the cloud and because of that they have a single point of focus from a security perspective.

However, there are some concerns, that in practice often revolve around a slight worry about some loss of control. In the end, organizations are handing over control of their security infrastructure around that very sensitive data they push out into the cloud to a third party. And this leads to one of the main concerns, Darren says.

Obviously, businesses often have some SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that govern the relationship and performance but, still, he warns, there’s always going to be a certain sense of worry it’s not going to be dealt with in the same way that you would internally in your business. Customers expect security to be better in the cloud because they expect every thing to be better in the cloud, Crossbeam’s Senior Systems Engineer adds. He confirms that security in the cloud typically tends to be better rather than worse but the concerns and expectations need to be addressed.

The five cloud computing security challenges

So, what are the five challenges for providers looking to build a cloud infrastructure from a security perspective?

  1. Agility
    First of all, the architect whom you employ needs to be agile. That agility is there for a good reason, Darren underlines. You need to accommodate many different customers’ needs; you need to accommodate changes of those needs and in their networks. So agility is important: you’re not looking to deploy something that’s going to be centralized like a cloud infrastructure that cannot be changed and grown as needed.
  2. Isolation
    Isolation is another big cloud security element, according to Darren. Of course, if you’re putting a lot of customer data and customer infrastructure into a centralized architecture, he states, you need to be able to guarantee there is a certain level of isolation, specifically from a security perspective between different customer environments. Isolation is clearly key there, especially if you’re looking at virtualizing a lot of those services.
  3. Improved reliability
    This should be a no brainer, according to Crossbeam’s Senior Systems Engineer. For most people reliability is a necessity, not only because they require their infrastructures to be reliable to begin with. But if you’re going to roll lots of functionality into a single location to a shared platform, from a service provider perspective, then resilience needs to be paramount. Reliability is essential not only to meet SLAs but to meet many SLAs of many customers, according to Darren.
  4. Scalability
    Scalability is very similar to agility. However, scalability is what you need in order to grow that solution, Darren concludes It’s not necessarily changing the solution or the architecture you have put in place but just allowing that architecture to scale, as the needs of your business and the networks attached to them grows.
  5. Sustainability
    The fifth cloud security challenge is sustainability, according to Darren. Along with all the mentioned capability to scale and grow, be agile and change with the needs, and along with the ability to be resilient, reliable, maintain isolation, etc., you need to be sustainable. You need to somehow reduce the cost and energy consumptions associated with running that cloud security or cloud computing based environment from a security perspective Darren concludes.


Let us know what you think here, in our LinkedIn Group or on next week’s BT Business Day. You can watch the video with the presentation below.


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