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Ensuring Application and Platform Security in the Cloud

Cloud technologies have become ubiquitous, but still companies are afraid that it isn't secure. Cloud security testing is constantly evolving to meet these needs.

· Cloud Zone

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The cloud has bypassed its buzzword status to become a major part in how people work and connect over the Internet. However, many organizations are still hesitant to actively leverage this technology for their operations. One of the biggest reasons that businesses are cautious is the fact that the technology must be secure enough to protect company and customer data. Fortunately, the cloud software testing industry is always evolving to better meet these needs and give adopters peace of mind with better protections.

Geared for industry specifications
There are a number of sectors that have compliance requirements attached to any process that involves customer information. Retailers have applications that read and process credit and debit cards, for example. If these systems were compromised, that could put client financials at risk and result in major consequences for the business. In medical institutions like hospitals, the potential for harm is even higher since they handle treatment data, Social Security numbers and other personal details.

When using applications in the cloud, organizations in regulated sectors must ensure that compliance processes exist in the virtual platform. This not only will depend on writing secure code, but the protection of the cloud itself. The Cloud Standards Customer Council noted that organizations should look for the provider to demonstrate its adherence to cloud industry standards.

"Certification of the provider gives more confidence in that provider to prospective consumers. There are a number of different certifications which can be useful for cloud computing services ‐ which one is most appropriate depends to some extent on the cloud service model (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and also depends on your regional and industry requirements," the council noted in a white paper.

Run security tests
Executing security tests and defect management is an easy way to identify vulnerabilities in the cloud and applications hosted in the platform. TechTarget contributor Dan Cornell suggested performing threat modeling as well as running both static and dynamic analysis. This will assess how likely an attack is and give insight on what areas will require more protection. Some providers will even provide scanning and test management solution. Part of these efforts will come from understanding how information flows across different cloud models and dedicated hardware. This knowledge will help make decisions related to encryption and what other security protocols should be established.

Organizations can run these tests before the applications are even migrated to the cloud. In fact, TechTarget contributor Tom Nolle noted that programs that include confidential information should be secured in some way prior to being transferred. This will ensure that protocols carry over, giving organizations peace of mind that protection is already in place.

The cloud is no longer simply an asset, it's a must-have for many businesses. However, organizations are under industry pressure to ensure that every aspect of their operations is secure. The cloud is as protected as you make it. By ensuring vendor compliance, using software testing metrics and building security into the applications, businesses can rest easy knowing that their environment is protected.

The Cloud Zone is brought to you in partnership with Internap. Read Bare-Metal Cloud 101 to learn about bare-metal cloud and how it has emerged as a way to complement virtualized services.

Topics:
cloud ,testing ,security ,cloudsec

Published at DZone with permission of Sanjay Zalavadia, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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