Security in The Cloud
As more and more businesses adopt cloud computing strategies, the security of those online services becomes an increasingly important topic. Questions around data ownership and protection are being highlighted, along with how various vendors of cloud computing technologies build and implement their services.
A cloud computing model allows CPU, memory and storage resources to be shared and utilised by many customers while also offering security benefits. In fact, you could argue that cloud computing can actually be more secure than locally managed systems, particularly for small to mid-sized companies.
What are the security benefits of operating in The Cloud?
Traditional on-site systems security needs to be monitored and patches applied and tested thoroughly - something not all businesses have the resources for. Through a cloud computing model these patches are installed and tested centrally, by a greater, more specialists resource. End-users are then automatically updated with the new patches without the need to do anything.
Most providers, specifically Google Apps, offer 2 factor authentication where there is an added layer of security to the traditional username and password arrangement. A verification code or One-Time Pin (OTP) can be generated for the end-user via sms or mobile app and entered in along with their username and password.
Larger specialist companies have the resources and budget to gain specific security certifications, but that is not necessarily the case for smaller businesses. Adopting a cloud computing model enables them to benefit from these certifications, for example, Google Apps and its data centres are SSAE 16 Type II-audited, ISO 27001 certified and have achieved the U.S. Federal Governments FISMA certification.
Data centres are usually hosted in hyper secure facilities where access is tightly controlled. Google’s data centres are protected by multiple layers of security - from physical security on the premises to complex data encryption.
It’s all about economies of scale. Businesses can benefit from the resources, experience and expertise of larger, specialists cloud computing suppliers - and as detailed above, those benefits extend to include costs, storage and security.
Google provides cloud services reliably due to its experience with operating its own business, as well as its core services like Google Search, in a similar manner. The security controls that isolate data during processing in the cloud were developed alongside the core technology from the beginning. Security is thus a key component of each of our cloud computing elements, such as compartmentalisation, server assignment, data storage, and processing.