Securing the Cloud: How Safe Is that Data?

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Cloud computing and SAAS models increase the complexity of securing data, which creates both a challenge and an opportunity for solution providers.

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Ingram Micro's Squier describes the opportunity for solution thusly: "Help your customers classify and understand their information assets and what's most important. Use Data Loss Prevention, encryption and auditing controls to ensure that you don't lose control over where the most critical information assets are going."

Taking comfort

Though potentially vexing, securing the cloud is not impossible. For one thing, solution providers can take advantage of packaged security services from companies such as Perimeter to protect their clients' systems.
For another, solution providers can take comfort in knowing that many of the elements to protect cloud computing already are in place, even if some of the technology is still maturing, as IBM's Ollmen points out. The trick is to implement processes and policies to safely leverage the cloud infrastructure.

Arnie Bellini, CEO of business automation vendor ConnectWise, points out the laptops people use in their travels to access data inside firewalls have built-in security, and that data transmissions typically are protected through encryption, VPN security or Transport Layer Security (TLS). The point: Much of the security needed is already there.

Solution providers, however, have to rise to the challenge of helping customers make a cultural shift. It may take some work to persuade them of the safety of cloud computing because the predominant belief is that data is secure when it's under your own roof, Bellini says.

Len Couture, managing director for SAAS solution provider Bluewolf's CIO practice, says it comes down to customer education and positioning by the solution providers.

He points out that when the industry first rolled out laptops, the security didn't really exist. Adding security was in reaction to events that necessitated it. "We built all this stuff long after the horse got out of the barn," he says.

But with cloud computing, security awareness is strong and the opportunity is there to become even more sophisticated in protecting IT environments as reliance on the cloud increases, he says. 


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