Cloud computing is nothing but accessing and using applications and files over the Internet rather than on your own computing devices.
But before an organization shifts some of its resources to the cloud, there are certain measures it should take to ensure that its data will be secure.
If opting for software-as-a-service (SaaS), the firm has to collect as much information as possible about that service provider’s infrastructure and security provisions. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) service providers should be asked about the tools they provide for the protection of data in virtual space.
When you store confidential information in the cloud, ensure that data is encrypted at rest and also in transit.
Divide responsibilities between your own administrators and the provider's administrators so that neither can access freely across all security layers.
Importantly, check out if the service provider is adhering to ISO 27001 and SAS 70 Type 2 security norms. An international company needs to have a European Safe Harbor accreditation too.
Although information breaches have been few and far between on public clouds, they cannot be ruled out in the future. Besides, cloud computing is still in the nascent stages. It is better that service providers and potential customers come together and chart out a roadmap as to who will take the onus for securing and safeguarding the specific modules of the infrastructure.
For instance, delegation of responsibilities is negotiable with IaaS providers. Responsibility of the service providers is often dependent on what type of services they are providing.
In an IaaS environment, the responsibility to protect all components above the middleware and application program interfaces (APIs) lie with the customer. It extends to the operating system and applications too.
For example, in Amazon's IaaS service, the responsibility lies with the customers for protecting the data they add to the public cloud.
A SaaS provider is, however, often responsible for the protection of customer applications and information sitting on the cloud. This arrangement is beneficial for small business houses, as they get access to advanced security tools which they otherwise cannot afford.
Most providers of SaaS are not comfortable with the idea of a customer adding security products, which are provided by a third party, into their proprietary systems.
But as IaaS customers have ownership of their virtualized data, they have the liberty to deploy security software of their choice. There are only a few service providers who offer products that are capable of providing security in both private and public cloud environments.