Busting the cloud myths – Myth#1: Cloud is not secure

“The Cloud” has moved on from being merely a hype to reality, even in industries known for highly regulated environments such as healthcare, banking and financial services. The cloud...

Snehal Fulzele 15th January 2014

“The Cloud” has moved on from being merely a hype to reality, even in industries known for highly regulated environments such as healthcare, banking and financial services. The cloud is changing the way IT is perceived, bought and used. Many businesses have been able to realize the benefits of scalability, flexibility and lower total cost of ownership after adapting cloud services. But somehow, the concerns and misconceptions around cloud remain as topics of debate. In this 4-part series we will address the most popular misconceptions and concerns, starting with this part on cloud security. cloud computing
 

Cloud can be as secure as on-premise

Understandably, security is one of the top concerns of a modern enterprise given the volumes of data they are dealing with and the sensitivity of data. Security has a big impact on a company’s reputation in the market and the customer experience.



While the concerns are justified and every company must do its due diligence on security features that cloud providers offer, the myth that cloud is not secure is not justified with facts. Cloud can be as secure as on-premise. The 4 most important aspects of security are confidentiality, integrity, availability and recovery. Let us see how cloud providers address these aspects of security:



Confidentiality

Cloud securityEven if you are a company looking to buy SaaS, it is important to evaluate the confidentiality not only from both data-protection as well as physical security perspectives. Confidentiality with respect to data-protection can be addressed by cloud providers by adopting multi-layered approach to security including SSL, certificates, patches, encryption, intrusion detection systems including DDos (Distributed denial-of-service) protection systems and role-based user access control.


But physical security commitments are also equally important even when buying SaaS. Information from the service provider on how their data centers are protected can help you choose a vendor who can match the expectations and needs of your business. Physical security concerns can be addressed with rigorously controlled access including biometric scanning and tracking asset movements, sophisticated surveillance systems including patrolling and CCTVs.



Integrity

Data accuracy and quality is really a collective result of process, systems and people. However systems can help improve the quality of data through timeliness, validation for accuracy and completeness, and consistency, thus compensating for some of the inefficiencies of the processes and people. When buying a cloud-based SaaS, businesses must ensure that the data updates are performed in real-time complete with validation and error-logging.



Availability

Various cloud-based SaaS applications come with different levels of availability and SLAs. Your business should evaluate the vendor’s availability levels on the basis of business criticality and compliance requirements.Availability


Recovery



data backup and recoveryYou must discuss the data back-up and disaster recovery provisions with your vendors when making the purchase decision. You can evaluate the vendor’s recovery services on following parameters:

• Do they back-up data on tape at the data centers. Have they implemented rotating schedule of incremental and full back-ups?



• Are the data cloned over secure links?

• Archive retiring procedures

• Do they have a “near-real-time” synchronization between production and disaster data centers?

• What is their projected recovery time? Will they ensure verification of data integrity post recovery?



So, as you can see, cloud can be as secure as on-premise by evaluating security comprehensively. If you would like to know more about security features of the world’s #1 cloud based enterprise application provider Salesforce.com, visit their page on security.




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