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Cloud storage and mistaken assumptions

Many assumptions regarding the security of cloud servers lean toward being more theoretical than realistic. When explaining the concept to business executives who are uneducated in network surveillance, the thought of placing massive amounts of data onto a shared external environment seems daunting, until concerns are allayed. 

However, hosting companies recognize the security risks associated with putting information on a cloud, just as IT departments acknowledge the fact that their on-premise data centers are not entirely safe from infiltration attempts. 

According to CIO Magazine, large enterprises, such as a social media websites, use applications that aren't necessarily obligated to abide by strict security requirements. Those outsourcing to a cloud service provider will find that the hosting company supplies security measures that typically exceed regulatory standards

"Default security with most leading cloud service providers is already strong," stated the news source. 

Allaying fears
FierceCIO reported that many organizations that are over-cognizant of security may be overestimating the risks associated with cloud computing. The report stated that Internap Network Services Corporation conducted a global survey consisting of 250 Web infrastructure professionals. 

In an email to FierceCIO, the software firm claimed that business professionals well-versed in cloud environments concentrate more optimizing performance and reducing pay-per-use costs with their providers than improving security. 

"Cloud-wise organizations ranked security challenges a distant fifth," the firm told the news source. "While a portion of cloud-wary are from security-conscious industries, such as financial services, healthcare and government, the majority may be overestimating security risks. 

A white paper released by Cloud Standards Customer Council outlined several necessary steps to ensure cloud environment protection. 

  • Audit operational and business processes and allow for separate organizations to conduct tests on the environment to ensure that government standards are being met. 
  • Manage people, roles and identities. Assigning responsibilities to some employees while restricting access to others may seem counter-productive, but it provides a human gauntlet that can prevent disgruntled workers from sabotaging important data. 
  • Assess the security provisions for cloud applications.
  • Evaluate security controls on physical infrastructure and facilities, which would require transparency between the cloud server host and the enterprise.
  • Enforce privacy policies.

The aforementioned characteristics may seem like common-sense practices, but within these measures are encryption tools and other techniques necessary to maintain cloud storage protection. 

Another factor to consider is the unlimited resources of the company hosting the cloud environment. Although a business's IT department may possess limited abilities, the cloud host views security as another aspect of its practice, if not its most important responsibility. 

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