March 13, 2014

Natalie Lehrer, CloudWedge
Natalie Lehrer, CloudWedge
Information technology experts agree that the cloud is good for business. As more businesses begin to realize that the cloud can streamline their processes and improve collaboration, it becomes natural to want to move all systems into the cloud to achieve the same benefit organization wide.

The biggest barrier to entry for public cloud systems is the fear of data being compromised. After all, when corporations begin hosting data in the public cloud, the data exists on a hard drive in a datacenter that is not owned by your organization. Not knowing exactly where that data resides and not having full ownership of those disks becomes a scary proposition for IT professionals who are worried about data security.

Contrary to popular belief, the public cloud can be secured. What stands between a secure public cloud and an unsecure public cloud? If the skill set of the staff operating the cloud infrastructure isn’t up to date on the latest security bulletins along with the best practices, the security of the public cloud could be at risk. Many IT professionals have been fortunate enough to be on teams that simply aren’t targets for hackers. Other than basic security knowledge, some IT staffers may lack the experience in auditing a cloud for security holes which leaves the organization susceptible to attack.

How can professionals get ahead of the curve? Becoming educated and getting motivated about public cloud security is a good start. Organizations such as the Cloud Security Alliance exist for this exact purpose. Local chapters meet up all around the world and your organization should be a member or at least keep up with the latest news that this organization publishes. When the CSA holds a summit, they often invite the top security experts from the biggest technical organizations in the world to talk to the attendees. Recently, cloud security experts from Microsoft and Google spoke at a CSA conference and their sentiment was that the public cloud is now mature enough to be used for private businesses.

What can the apparent lack of trust in the public cloud tell us? The reluctance to adapt to public cloud may be a self-assessment of an IT team’s skill set. With adequate training and awareness, solutions such as software defined networking will help keep unwanted intruders out of your cloud. If intruders do gain access, ensure that you incorporate best practices such as using encrypted data so that your data can not be breached. Education and proactive insight will ensure a successful migration to the public cloud.

Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast.