Security Advantages & Disadvantages of Cloud-Based Systems
Cloud computing benefits enterprises by reducing costs and allowing them to concentrate on their core business rather than IT and infrastructure related issues. Cloud services provide several security advantages and disadvantages.
- Improved patch management and deployment due to cloud providers using specialized staff.
- Better human-relations reach. Through strong financial positions cloud vendors are able to better screen potential employees for security concerns.
- System redundancy. Cloud solution providers are specialized and as such provide redundant resources.
- Incident response. Client organizations often multi-task personnel, example, the system administrator may also be the organizations security specialist. Cloud providers are able to employ specialist that concentrate in specific areas. Additionally, cloud providers usually use advanced system monitoring and intrusion detection systems.
- Location of data. Cloud providers may store data in many different data centers, not all of them may be in the same state, or even the same country. For this reason it is not always clear how the physical location of data will be affected by things such as legal issues or standards compliance.
- Multitenant concerns. Cloud services are often shared between multiple customers. As a result issues such as application errors for one customer might expose private data of other customers.
- Malicious insiders. Even though cloud providers can better screen staff, sometime problems still occur. Malicious insiders can be in a position to compromise an organizations data.
- Contract lock-ins. Organizations have to be very familiar with vendor agreements and clearly understand what they specify.
- Vendor failure. There is always a possibility that a cloud provider fails as a business. An organization could potentially lose data hosted with the failed vendor and have problems recovering it. There is also the potential for loss of revenue while the organization gets systems running elsewhere. The problem is compounded if an organization has to replicate applications from scratch.
Additional security advantages of cloud-based systems include:
- Security through scale. Large scale implementations are usually more cost effective than small scale. This gives cloud vendors the financial resources to implement advanced security measures such as filtering, encryption, and detailed auditing.
- Market demand security. Security has become one of the core factors determining which cloud provider organizations choose. Example, I have selected to evaluate cloud systems for a small hospital as my class project. One of the core requirements is that the providers must be HIPAA compliant and provide HIPAA compliant service agreements. Since this type security is in high demand, I have a large pool of potential vendors to choose from. This large pool creates an environment of competition which reduces costs.
- Security through standardization. As cloud-based services become more popular this leads to more uniform, open and readily available security services that are more resilient against security threats.
- Advantage of concentrated resources. The concentration of resources is potentially dangerous for security. At the same time it can also be used for improving security through other methods. It allows service providers cheaper physical access and security control. The saved resources can be reallocated to improve security.
- Evidence-gathering and Investigation. Cloud computing services offer quick evidence gathering for forensic and investigation purposes.
Blake, G. (2010, August 15). The Security Benefits of Cloud Computing. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://cloudtweaks.com/2010/08/the-security-benefits-of-cloud-computing/.