What are the security issues around cloud computing?

Did you ever come across those social media buttons in some popular blogs and news networks that say “sharing is caring”? Well, that holds true for cloud computing as well. As a matter of fact with cloud computing, sharing is not the only caring but also about saving money. The entire concept of cloud computing is let somebody else for your responsibilities for a fee. Now, that is good for medium and small sized businesses for which it is easier to rely completely on cloud computing rather than having an information technology department of their own, but what about security?

Yes, in the past it has happened that some major cloud computing service providers failed to be good watchdogs and either their client data was leaked out or it was lost completely. Why did that happen? To understand the security issues around cloud computing, you need to understand how cloud servers store and transfer data. A majority of the cases, cloud computing servers keep encrypted data beneath layers of hard to crack passwords, but when the client is transferring data the outer shell that otherwise protected the data from leaking out or getting lost doesn’t accompany the data and this is when it becomes vulnerable to security threats.

In any case, medium and small sized businesses shift to cloud computing because they can’t afford to have an IT department of their own so usually they don’t go for dedicated servers but shared servers that contain data from different people, the whereabouts of whom are not known to each other. This is more like storing all your personal items in a common locker at the gym - a whole lot of people have access to it and security issues are bound to be there.

There is also the issue of cloud computing service providers outsourcing their security responsibilities to third parties. Now, in most of the cases when you sign up for a cloud computing service, this particular aspect is not mentioned in the contract form, but history has it that such third parties have access to all the data (because they are supposed to be the watchdogs) and your data lies completely at their mercy. The good news is most cloud computing service providers offer backup solutions and in the unfortunate event that your data gets lost, the service provider might be able to restore stuff back into place, but if the data gets leaked out, there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do about it.

Does that mean you should not shift to cloud computing? It is true that there are horror stories about cloud computing security, but let that not intimidate you because the benefits far outweigh the security concerns nowadays. You just need to treat your cloud server the same way you treat your e-mail account - change your passwords regularly and never share them. It also pays to buy a cloud computing service from a reputed service provider, rather than going for cheap server that already has tons of data from other people.

Image courtesy of nirots at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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