The security of cloud computing has always been a hotly contested topic. When cloud computing first came into popularity, there were numerous hosting startups that did not take security seriously and consequently damaged the reputation of the industry. In truth, cloud solutions are not inherently any more secure or less secure than on-premise or traditionally hosted servers, but there are some advantages that a cloud solution may have in the hands of an experienced cloud services provider.
Improved Policy Management and Provisioning
Cloud solutions have had to increase the thoroughness of their policy management in order to compete with private on-premise solutions and strictly controlled hosting. The accessibility of the cloud platform naturally increases the attack surface of a system, but this doesn’t have to be a vulnerability. Through the careful management of policies, provisioning, and access granting, cloud service providers control what users can access and when.
When cloud solutions initially entered into popularity, there were issues related to provisioning; multiple clients would exist in the same virtual space and could potentially interfere with each other’s security. Through conscientious resource management, virtualization, and sand boxing, cloud solutions are now able to protect clients from this type of potential vulnerability.
Data Management and Backups
Many security issues, in cloud solutions and otherwise, arise due to improper data management and faulty backup solutions. Cloud platforms often come with comprehensive backup systems, which can sync and encrypt data so that it’s never lost. With a cloud platform, data restoration and data management is built-in. On-premise solutions, by contrast, can potentially lose data during outages and system malfunctions. As an additional bonus, backups on cloud solutions are generally monitored, whereas a traditional host or on-premise server may silently fail in its backup solution, leaving a company without its data if it’s primary resources fail.
Forensic Logging and Security Scanning
Cloud solutions monitor and log all of the actions that are taken throughout the platform. Active monitoring makes it easier for IT professionals to diagnose issues and identify malicious use. Thorough logging aids in accountability and forensics, for investigations into and following a data loss or data breach. Additionally, proper activity logging is required for regulatory compliance in many industries.
Cloud solutions have a significant amount of resources available that an on-premise solution could not otherwise achieve. These resources can be utilized for more thorough and consistent security scanning. When confronted by exploits such as denial of service attacks or intrusion attempts, a cloud solution is more likely to have the technology necessary to survive.
Active Maintenance and Monitoring
The IT technicians at a cloud service will perform maintenance tasks and monitor the performance of the system, vastly reducing the amount of time that a business needs to sink into IT and administration. More importantly, it means that the cloud solution will be consistently monitored for any irregularities. Data breaches and malicious attacks cause more damage the longer they are allowed to continue; through active maintenance and monitoring, these breaches and attacks can be countered as soon as possible.
Through resource provisioning and best-in-class security-as-a-service solutions, a cloud platform can be incredibly secure. It all depends on the cloud services provider. Those who are looking for a secured cloud solution will want to investigate the type of encryption and security protocols the cloud service supports before making a determination regarding whether the cloud is best for them.