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Cloud Computing

Discover the Truth About Cloud Security

22nd October 2013

iStock_000019647655_LargeData security concerns are still holding back widespread adoption of cloud services amongst medium to large enterprises. Yet these fears are – by and large – unsubstantiated as many cloud providers are able to provide more effective physical security, data protection and failover capabilities than on-premises environments.

Out in front

Research carried out amongst IT managers by IDG Connect (commissioned by SunGard Availability Services) shows that data security remains the prime source of concern over the suitability of external cloud platforms for application and service hosting.

In fact, it leads by a significant margin:

  • Security (80%)
  • Reliability (37%)
  • Performance (28%)
  • Pricing and billing (21%)
  • Management (20%).

Exploding the myths

This situation hasn’t exactly been helped by several high profile outages in recent years, such as those which adversely affected Netflix  and Google. These only served to heighten ongoing cloud security and performance concerns for many business customers.

But whilst it should be noted that these incidents involved the most widely used public cloud services, it should also be noted that sometimes those using public clouds do not scrutinise the small print as closely as they should, perhaps making assumptions about the level of given protection, and the need to specify enhancements  Setting that aside, however, typical public clouds are unlike private hosted and hybrid cloud services that use single-tenanted architecture with dedicated servers, storage and bandwidth, public cloud platforms deploy shared multi-tenanted architecture to simultaneously host different customers’ virtual workloads.

Which do you think will offer the more robust protection?

Education is the answer

On-premises system security has also been shown by various studies to be more vulnerable to malware, botnet and web application attacks than equivalent hosted systems.

If private/hybrid cloud providers are to capitalise on the enhanced security and reliability delivered by their enterprise-class platforms versus public cloud alternatives, they must first educate potential customers – in terms of what the differences are, and what use cases they are best suited too. They also need to set out comprehensive SLAs guaranteeing data integrity, uptime and application availability.

Keeping up to date

Another significant drain on the IT department’s time and budget is the need to maintain effective data protection through regular patches and updates to the IT estate. Outsourcing responsibility for security to a third party provider can alleviate much, if not all, of this management burden.

What is interesting to note is that cost does not rate highly as a concern. The relatively small number of respondents highlighting price and billing would indicate that the majority of organisations see cloud services as offering equal, or better, value for money than on-premises application and service hosting.

You can find out more about migrating to the cloud by downloading the full Cloud Workload Migration White Paper.