Navigating security in the cloud

March 2012
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Navigating security in the cloud

At a glance

Cloud computing has proved it can deliver lower IT costs, diminished infrastructure complexity, and enhanced flexibility. As the technology advances into the mainstream, organizations are finding that it also can spur innovation by lowering the financial barriers to creating new products and services.

Cloud computing has proved it can deliver lower IT costs, diminished infrastructure complexity, and enhanced flexibility. As the technology advances into the mainstream, organizations are finding that it also can spur innovation by lowering the financial barriers to creating new products and services. The benefits are undeniable, but look at whether your security needs are met. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) understand that, while security for cloud computing is no different than security controls for any IT environment, the stakes can be perilously higher. This is because the possibilities of data loss, data leakage, service downtime, regulatory constraints, and risk of intellectual property theft are amplified in the cloud model.

Accordingly, significant security hurdles must be cleared before a business implements cloud computing. Organizations must first carefully assess which of its applications and data are appropriate to move to a cloud environment. The company also must strenuously evaluate the capabilities of any potential cloud services provider, including factors such as data security and privacy, compliance, availability, and scalability. At the same time, it is important to consider the portability of data and applications to ensure that organizations can move to a new provider should an existing vendor fail to deliver agreed-upon service levels.

As cloud computing matures, organizations are beginning to understand that its benefits extend beyond lower IT costs and higher operating efficiencies. But without careful planning and consideration of market concerns, these gains can be overshadowed by risks.