Security in the Cloud: Is it Pie in the Sky?

Security is one of the most commonly cited reasons why Enterprise and Public Sector customers are reluctant to embrace cloud computing, notwithstanding the many benefits it offers in other respects.

In this white paper, we seek to explore the reasons behind the perception that cloud computing is somehow less secure than other Enterprise computing paradigms, to identify the real risks where they exist, and to propose ways that Enterprises can mitigate those risks.

Why is the cloud perceived to be insecure?

On the surface of it, it would almost seem that the question doesn’t need asking. After all, the very term cloud implies a degree of opacity - a lack of visibility as to where resources (applications, data, compute, storage, network etc.) are actually located.

It would also appear to apply a similar lack of transparency as to who controls those resources - who sets policy, who enforces policy, how compliance is audited, and so on. Furthermore, the fact that access to many cloud-based services can be provisioned through a browser in no more time than it takes to enter an email address and a credit card number adds to the impression that this is not Enterprise-Class technology.

Is there any merit in these perceptions? After all, businesses have been outsourcing computing to third-party providers since the first time-sharing systems were introduced in the 1950s1. Is there anything intrinsic to cloud technologies or deployment architectures that makes them fundamentally less secure than other forms of outsourced computing services?

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Virtustream is a leading cloud innovator offering enterprise class cloud solutions to enterprises, governments and service providers. Virtustream enables businesses to move complex production applications to the cloud - whether private, public or hybrid - while delivering the full economic and business benefits of the cloud.
Krystle Waters
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