Strong Growth of Cloud Computing Dictates Enterprise Security Strategies

cloud security allianceTraditional security approaches no longer work easily for the private and public cloud so the nonprofit Cloud Security Alliance is working with various CIO’s in evaluating the different cloud providers.

The steady and remarkable growth of the cloud services has placed a different blueprint to the fluctuating financial market worldwide. It has remained unfazed with the economic challenges of almost all businesses. The Global Industry Analysts firm, has in fact projected a $222.5 billion increase in cloud services demand by 2015.

An analyst from the firm said “The bad economy is feeding [demand], as cash- and revenue-starved companies prowl for IT solutions that are cost-effective, require minimum to zero investments, and low management of computing resources.”

The public cloud’s key services in applications, systems infrastructure software, basic storage, application development and deployment, and servers are expected to register a $72.9 billion growth in 2015.

Jay Heiser, vice president of Gartner said “Security and other risk concerns are the largest inhibitor of cloud computing.” A survey conducted by Trend Micro confirmed this when the results of their survey showed that 50% of the 1,200 respondents have experienced security issues in the use of the cloud platform.

This creates further problems for traditional IT solutions that may not port easily to the cloud platform. Even the traditional philosophy that anything inside the private environment is safe and anything outside may be harmful. With the growing popularity of cloud services used fo4r mobile phones and tablet PC’s, this principle may have grown to be obsolete already.

Another reason that cloud services are gaining leverage is the fact that businesses today are more concerned about the most cost effective IT resources for the company without having to compromise security and performance. This is where third party cloud service providers perfectly fit.

Dave Asprey, who is the vice president of Trend Micro, said “Traditional security involves an outside-in approach where you have layered primary defenses. In the cloud a lot of the perimeters that you used to defend are not your responsibility anymore. They are your cloud providers’ responsibility. As a result, [enterprises] don’t have all of the visibility they used to have in order to provide full defense.”

Utilization optimization is another major concern in cloud infrastructure; this allows several applications to be virtualized and to move to and from the servers. Cloud platform effectively increases utilization by processing several applications at the same time and allowing pooling of services only when they are on demand; this feature significantly cuts operational costs.

There are just some concerns about this particular feature and they are security assurance measures and data tracking device. Dave Elliot of Symantec said “One of the biggest challenges is how to bring existing services along with standards for audit, compliance and security into this new cloud infrastructure.”

Because of these concerns efforts have been made to develop a cloud-focused certification system for all cloud service providers. Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) pioneered on this certification document beginning last August. The CSA Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR) is scheduled to be released before the end of the fourth quarter. CSA will release this document free and accessible for the public users.

The STAR security standards will have the following benefits:

Consistency – as regards the vendor’s cloud service features. Users will be given a list of things to ask their vendors to confirm the consistency in their service.

Availability – is about provisioning for the maximum up time and workload capacity for the users. This also requires for a system backup plan in case of a power outage.

Cost Savings – With all the service features embedded to the cloud platform this will assure users of cutting their operational cost significantly.

With all these features taken into account the cloud technology will continue to thrive given the best environment to breed.

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