Security in the cloud

A few weeks ago I shared a link on my blog about Steve Ballmer’s speech on cloud computing and how it really works. Cloud computing in terms is referred to all kinds of services provided online on the internet. To make things clearer, cloud computing is a way to make data always accessible for anyone to use at any time. Such a technology brings a lot of convenienve and a really fast access to the data using the services in the cloud. For instance imagine that you could have your Microsoft office tools available whereever you would need it on any computer whether with or without the real office installed.
With this rapid growth of cloud computing and different companies having their own clouds with their services available and ready to give services on it, who knows maybe on day all the services would go online and working offline had no meaning to anyone. We have to wait and see how fast the technology is going…
When it comes to the reliabiliy of the services provided in the cloud, one of the first things that comes to everyone’s mind is security and how the companies providing such online services are approaching security. There are many items that could be listed here but to be brief I’d like to mention a few of them:
Trusting the cloud: This is probably the most fundamental concept of security which is very hard to gain. Trusting the company and therefore trusting their cloud and its services is definitely crucial because you are putting all your information up there and you must make sure that the company is trustworthy to keep all those provate information. This type of trust also comes from the level of popularity of a company. Let’s say if is providing services online, then the name is well-known to anyone and there will be no more question.
-Availability of the cloud: Basically this concept is more related to the availability than security, but the first step to secure your data is to have the servers available all the time. This is something not many companies pay a lot of attention to and also clients do not question the companies about the availability of their services. It has happned in the real world that a little bit of interruption in service provision has caused loss of thousands of dollars.
-Identity in the cloud: Whoever using the cloud has his identity and is known to the others using let’s say a username. this user is given an ientity from the cloud provider and he is the only one reponsible to keep his credentials safe. On the other hand, the company is also required to set policies to force users to better protect their credentials.
-Policies in the cloud: Everyone would make a lot of connections in the cloud and could share his/her information with the others. This is the company giving the user this ability to customize his/her privacy policies and give the rest of the people different types of permission to access his/her data. You could see a lot of such issues recently in Facebook regarding different privacy policies resulting in many of its users to go angry and even quit using it. So wha can be concluded is that it is not only the user who has to be aware enough to set proper policies but also the company must give him this ability.
The history of loud computing maybe dates back to the time Hotmail became so popular and everyone was creating accounts in it and ever user was communicating with the rest, uploading their data somehow and doing so many new things. The technology has expanded up until now that we have lots of services provided like having a lot of space for storing my information and even I could have more than what I have on my pc at home. right? With all this rapid expansion, there comes security risks also. One of them could be the server downtime due to any serious security issues. In these situation we should look at our company’s plan to see how prepared they are for such cases and how secure their infrastructure is. At the same time, we should see how they react to such problems in the cloud really and what back-up plans they have.
Something else which plays a very important role in the level of trust and reliability from the users is the support they receive from the technical team. The users always need a team to respond well to the issues they have and we should really see how a company as big as Microsoft and with the users as many as Microsoft users, is supporting so many users.
In the future posts I ll try to make it so specific on different cloud providers and how they interact with each other and how the users are connected from different clouds. For the time being this link is a great source of information on Microsoft website.
Late at night
Befoe the morning clouds are out, let’s get some night sleep…. 🙂