Cloud computing provides the best solution to a number of long-standing challenges like scalability, true elasticity, barriers to entry, technology refreshes and cost savings. Along with the numerous benefits cloud offers, it also brings in some challenges in adoption to cloud technology, owing to lack of a total understanding. Pertaining to the abstract nature of the cloud, major challenges are perceived to be in security.
But to go by facts, Security in the cloud often exceeds the security of an on-premise or legacy facility. It is high time the myth about cloud security is dusted off.
One very basic reason for the questions raised on cloud security is that it cannot be seen or touched. For a long time, Federal IT teams are trying to put their trust in cloud providers, and that can understandably create questions and worries.
To help dispel those concerns, let’s have a look at four of the reasons how and why an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud environment is high secure.
The hypervisor is the software which lets multiple virtual machine instances to run on one physical hardware. The main job of a hypervisor is to abstract the hardware and separate each virtual machine “tenants” as securely as possible.
The hypervisor has a minimal attach surface, which makes it very secure and it ultimately prevents any exposure of the virtual machine instances.
Hypervisors have been in use for a long time, and constant testing over time has further made the security strong. Unlike default operating systems that have confirmed vulnerabilities almost daily, there have been hardly ever any report of confirmed breach of hypervisors since the advent of commercial clouds.
There was a time when someone used to forget adding the server to the inventory which created security nightmare, but this is physically impossible in the case of commercial cloud environment. With cloud, one can never hide or forget about the servers, workstations, firewalls or any other device in a cloud setup.
The whole network is, at all times, completely visible which makes your security posture enhanced by a maximum measure. There is so much transparency that people are now finding it difficult to manage all the data; but again it is easily solvable with your cloud partner.
Configuration Management :
To manage the configurations is a point of high importance for any environment to be secure. The time consumed for spinning off a server, configuring it and locking is significant in a traditional or legacy environment. Once the configuration is locked, minor changes required also can cause serious problems and security threats.
In the scenario of a cloud, the turnaround time for creating or replicating configurations is significantly low and is automated. This not only ensures quick go to market but also hassle free upgradations or transformations which head towards fewer chances of security breaches.
Compliance with standards :
The current information security framework, in sync with the booming cloud technologies, is emerging continuously. With the technology renaissance in the industry, the standards are evolving at a faster pace. Compliance to some of these standards initiatives like ISO 27001 , HIPAA and many more can give your enterprise an assurance of security with the cloud you are hosted in. It is a mutual cognizance that is required between the Cloud provider and the customer about the security standards that are applicable to their respective environments.
Enterprises should understand their in-house requirements in detail and choose a service provider who is secure and compliant of standards related to their critical applications/vertical.
It is always a two-way responsibility
Partner with your provider in enhancing the data security of your organization. It is always a two-way responsibility in augmenting the security.
It is the responsibility of the IaaS provider to ensure the security of infrastructure up the Hypervisor and the major responsibility of the applications and operating system which run on top of the hypervisor is always with the enterprise.
You have a complete control on what is put in the cloud. This makes your role more responsible in terms of data, applications that are hosted on the cloud and the authentication of the same. Encryption of the data IP on transit and in rest can ensure higher security. Right and consistent security access controls for your data must be in place and regularly audited.
By taking care of the complete infrastructure , IaaS provider gives you enough time to spend focusing on what is of high importance to an enterprise, the application level security.
The case with PaaS and SaaS :
While an IaaS provider can see through your physical infrastructure and the product under that, PaaS and SaaS providers have a higher level of access to your frameworks and data.
So, it is of high importance that you, as the owner need to have effective application and infrastructural level security controls. The vendor personnel who access your premises/environment, the tools they use, or any other exposures that you might have, needs to be policy sanitized and covered enough to ensure you have a secured ride on the cloud.