85% of IT professionals are confident in the cloud provider’s ability to provide a secure environment. – Thor Olavsrud, CIO.com
Are you ready to jump in? According to Matt Asay in his piece on ReadWrite.com titled “Security Concerns Not Slowing Public Cloud Adoption,” we all are. Security is an issue when discussing public cloud usage. Businesses sharing their information over the internet opens a whole new door for a potential security breach. Despite our security concerns with cloud computing we are willing to dive in, deciding business dexterity overrules security.
Security in the Public Cloud
The basic definition of a public cloud is a network of computers following the standard cloud computing model (a large network of computers working over the Internet to run applications across multiple connected computers), where service providers make applications, storage and other resources available to the public.
Security sometimes gets pushed to the way-side in order to make room for other business endeavors. It’s a wonder that even though security is perceived to be one of the most important concerns, it would be so easy to ignore it. As Asay shows in his article, security has the highest level of concern among IT executives (69%). It’s not all bad news. There are ways to ease doubt when it comes to secure cloud storage services.
When taking the steps to begin using a public cloud, start with a game plan.
- Compare which public clouds you would like to use. Different cloud service providers provide different levels of security, so decide which applications you will move into the cloud.
- If your chosen applications have sensitive information attached to them, you’ll want to understand fully your service providers default security format. If you’re choosing a provider with a less secure format, you would choose less sensitive information; likewise if choosing a more secure provider you might be inclined to add more information. Make sure you’re selecting the right kind of applications and information; information you would feel comfortable sharing at different levels of security.
- Adding more security to the public cloud is also an option if you want to move critical documents over, just be aware of a possible drop in performance due to increased security layers.
- Rate how much you value the array of public cloud providers as well as the services they provide and which services are most important to you and your company – security, storage space, support etc.
Public Versus Private Clouds
Public cloud’s uses are defined by reduced cost and scalability. Businesses searching for cost-effectiveness will be ultimately pulled towards public clouds; but they are by no means the most secure cloud storage service. Large companies are looking for more computing power to meet the demands of constant mobile connectivity. At the moment, the public cloud dominates the market in cloud computing.
A private cloud is a network created within a secured server system to provide secure cloud file sharing . Private clouds provide the same amount of access, storage and speed as a public cloud, but with added security and control. IBM’s Forward View explains, “This can often make private clouds more appropriate for specialized programs and systems unique to organizations with extremely sensitive data that must be protected.” For smaller businesses the added security developed behind a firewall allows expansion within the company and their vital information.
IBM suggests a mix of the two types of clouds, adding flexibility to any business. For confidential information, including advanced processing and customer data, use a protected private cloud for data security in the cloud. When dealing with simple applications, social media and product catalogs, for example, public clouds are appropriate. Combing private and public clouds in your organization’s IT portfolio maintains control over possible risks. Nari Kannon from CIO.com makes a valuable argument, “It is common practice to procure high-bandwidth Internet connections for your data center from multiple vendors, precisely because you want to spread the risk of outages among many providers.” In short, using multiple clouds, public and private, spreads security risks and allows for more control when security problems do occur.