Ever since its conception, cloud computing has grown from strength to strength and adoption of cloud infrastructure in many industries is at an all-time high. Naturally, this growth has been met with some reservations as to the safety and security of cloud computing and the services that derive from it.

However, as dependence on cloud services grows, many companies are seeing the various advantages cloud computing can bring to their respective industries. Not only does it significantly increase efficiency of data & traffic handling, it also helps large enterprises to reduce their costs on server ownership and maintenance, whilst providing them the option to scale up their system without having to shell out on costly hardware & technical support.

veber1Image Source – Florian Pircher (CC0)

Dedicated Vs Cloud

Traditionally, website data is hosted on a portion of a physical server (shared hosting) or an entire physical server (dedicated hosting) in a specific physical location, offering more control over security of the data. Cloud data on the other hand, is shared over a network of interconnected servers, allowing you to access the data at any time, at any location and on any device.

As a result, cloud hosting is seen as somewhat less secure than its dedicated counterpart, giving some businesses reservations about putting their sensitive corporate data in the hands of cloud hosting companies. In fact, according to statistics from Eurostat, 39% of enterprises using cloud services say that the risk of a security breach is the main limiting factor in the use of cloud servers.

Whilst appropriate security measurements for cloud computing are essential to ensure client data is not compromised, the actual security requirements for cloud networks do not differ much from traditional security requirements, other than the scale at which they are executed.

veber2Image Source – Chris Price (CC License)

Current Cloud Security

Just how secure is the cloud? Fortunately, data security is just as paramount in cloud hosting as it is in any other form of hosting and a quality provider is likely to have all the security and encryption features necessary to keep your data secure and out of the hands of prying hackers.

For effective security to be ensured in a cloud environment, it is required that both the consumer and provider work together to understand and address the security risks involved with cloud hosting. These risks can include:

  • Loss of Governance
    In cloud hosting, the consumer is required to relinquish control of their data to the cloud provider; therefore it is essential that both provider and consumer collaborate to address potential security concerns that may disrupt service to either party.
  • Handling of Security
    Usually, security incidents are handled by the provider – however these incidents have a great impact on the consumer so a predetermined agreement between the two parties is required to ensure ample notification of these issues.
  • Authorisation & Access
    Seeing as cloud data can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, the provider needs to ensure that only the client and authorised users can gain access to their data, therefore password protection & authentication is a main concern.
  • Security of Applications
    consumers must ensure the security of any applications being developed on the cloud, since an unprotected application presents a gateway for hackers looking to gain access & exploit a cloud system.
  • Audits, Compliance & Legal Risks
    Enterprise risk management is already a well-established practice in many IT industries, with many organisations subject to auditing to ensure their processes meet stringent standards and set out by a governing body. It is the responsibility of the consumer to ensure that their presence on the cloud complies with industry standards and meets the regulatory requirements.

As you can see, hosting providers and consumers are required to work together to maintain a level of security and responsibility, and to ensure both their legality and operational success. The fact that both parties must work so collaboratively ensures an effective trust and bond between the cloud provider and the client, overall improving notification of issues and the increased ability to communicate potential threats and problems.

It is important to mention that security at the location of the physical server banks is just as, if not more important than digital security of the cloud. It is advised when choosing a cloud hosting provider that the location of their physical servers is well secured.

veber3Image Source – Max Lawton (CC0)

Cloud Vulnerability & Limitations

Because of the universal accessibility of the cloud, security protocols must be enhanced and adapted to perform in a cloud environment and as a result, features like multifactor authentication systems and tiered security protocols become essential. One of the reasons the cloud is more vulnerable to attacks than a traditional server is due to the sheer amount of data they handle, which all the more reason why a competent security system is required to be in place in order to handle traffic screening, intrusion detection and denial of service protection.

There are several vulnerabilities facing cloud environments, which can include:

Data breaches – Breach of data is a concern in many other industries besides cloud computing, however the large amounts of valuable data housed on cloud networks makes them a prime target for hackers.

DoS Attacks – DoS (denial of service) attacks have been happening since long before the cloud existed, but have now made resurgence due to the increasing popularity of cloud hosting. Thankfully, cloud providers are better equipped to handle DoS attacks and can usually mitigate their deleterious effects.

Hacked APIs – API stands for application programming interface and many providers of cloud applications allow public domain programmers to develop applications that can be integrated into the original cloud application.

While this is an excellent way to outsource creativity and allow outside developers to contribute to your cloud application, the API must be developed with limitations to ensure programmers are not able to utilize it to write a program, which they can then use to gain access to your secure cloud data.

System Vulnerabilities – Hackers have exploited bugs and vulnerabilities in systems and networks for decades – and with cloud networks becoming ever more complex, this provides a whole new range of vulnerabilities for exploitation.

Fortunately for consumers, these system vulnerabilities tend to be easy to fix and relatively inexpensive to patch and maintain when compared to the cost of damage.

Parasites & Malware – These threats are commonplace in the world of data security and personal computing, however when scaled up to a cloud network, these pesky viruses (also known as APT (advanced persistent threats)) can cause devastating effects, including gaining access to the network and extracting private data and intellectual property.

Fortunately, most cloud providers ensure firewalls and cloud-specific antivirus applications to prevent these kinds of things from entering the system.

Permanent Data Deletion – Thankfully, of the smallest risks present in cloud hosting is the permanent deletion of client data, since most providers have backup measures in order to prevent this eventuality. Still, data on cloud networks are still stored in a physical location and things like natural disasters & acts of God can still affect your data.

The Future of Cloud Security

Over the next decade or so it is predicted that dependence on cloud computing will increase dramatically, with the majority of websites and applications operating in the cloud. Naturally, cloud deployment, optimisation and services will all become cheaper, more secure and more effective, making it likely for cloud hosting to be the first choice for all major industries, IT applications and online service providers.

 

Vebers provides different types of managed cloud hosting services supported by the knowledge of our experts that will help you to decide which model is the right for your business.

CTA banner (002)

Featured Blog Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.