Security in Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been a great interest of mine for a long time. Simply put, cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. As this strict definition states, cloud computing is a network of “remote” servers. As the word “cloud” suggests, the user’s information and data are floating in the sky sort of speak. Although organizations are adapting cloud computing services gradually to save cost and to increase efficiency in their business environment, there are many security risks that must be taken into consideration before fully investing into cloud computing.
“In general, cloud computing provides persuasive benefits in the IT world as well as beneficial characteristics and service models; however, it is not completely secure and risk free in terms of data security challenges”, stated by Rajarshi Chowdhury, a graduate from Sylhet International University. Grobauer stated, “Cloud services are a shared infrastructure; therefore, it increases potential vulnerabilities in terms of unauthorized data access which concerns data privacy, identity management, authentication, compliance, confidentiality, integrity, availability, encryption, and internet protocol vulnerabilities.” This means that cloud computing can only be kept safe if managed correctly. Managing the security risks and issues must be implemented during the design phase, not after. Otherwise, it could be too late.
Grobauer, Walloschek, and Stocker also state, “Cloud computing’s core technologies such as web applications and services, virtualization, and cryptography-have vulnerabilities that are either intrinsic to the technology or prevalent in the technology’s state-of-the-art implementations.” Let us as users think about this. It is much easier for a criminal to steal from a cloud undetected rather than someone breaking into a building and directly stealing files from a server computer. Also, as a user, we must ask ourselves whether we trust our data on our personal machines or on a cloud server somewhere else? That questions begs another question. Is that cloud safe? Once information is uploaded to your “cloud”, you really lose control of it until you decide to access or work with that information again.
Lastly, lets think of one more issue. How do YOU have access to a cloud or your cloud? Simple answer, the internet. Grobauer explains, “There are many internet protocol vulnerabilities. The cloud characteristic ubiquitous network access means that cloud services are accessed via network using standard protocols. In most cases, this network is the Internet, which must be considered untrusted. Internet protocol vulnerabilities — such as vulnerabilities that allow man-in-the-middle attacks — are therefore relevant for cloud computing.” Data on our own computers is at risk if we as users don’t take the necessary precautions. Therefore, using a cloud to store your information when, in most cases, the cloud uses standard protocols such as the internet as the network to access your information is scary. Every one is skeptical when it comes to using the internet for tasks such as shopping, surfing, or even researching. Nevertheless, most people continue to do it due to the convenience factor. That is why people will store their personal information and data on a cloud regardless of potential security issues. Ultimately, cloud computing is a convenient and efficient method for storing, sending, and accessing data; however, with great convenience comes great risk. Hopefully these risks can be minimized in the future.
Chowdhury, R. R. (2014). Security in cloud computing. International Journal of Information Security, 13(2), 95–96. doi:10.1007/s10207–014–0232–2
Grobauer, B., Walloschek, T., & Stocker, E. (2010). WRLC Library Services Login. Understanding Cloud Computing Vulnerabilities, 50–57. doi:10.1109/MSP.2010.115