Enter Your Details to Register

Please enter your official e-mail ID. Kindly do not use a personal ID like GMail, Yahoo etc.,
Please do not enter +91 or 0.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.

Enter Your Log-in Details

Building a Fortress in the Cloud for Your Critical Data

Added 27th Nov 2012

 Businesses are in the crosshairs as military and spy organizations around the world step up their cyber-snooping techniques, and the shift to cloud is only exacerbating the risks. How can you be sure your cloud partner is capable of protecting your data from cyberattacks? 

Most cloud providers agree that security is the paramount, but in reality many do not possess the fundamentals to protect your data. Just because a cloud provider has performed a baseline security assessment does not mean the vendor is truly capable of protecting your data. 

ROUNDUP: The worst data breach incidents of 2012 

By asking the following questions of potential cloud providers, organizations looking to move some or all of their enterprise data and applications to the cloud can eliminate about half of the cloud vendors and find comfort in knowing their selected partner will be well-equipped to protect their information. 

1. What encryption methods will be employed for my data?

Asking what encryption methods are employed is essential in defining the level of security or protection used. To fully protect data, it needs to be encrypted at rest and in transit. 

There are built-in capabilities within the traditional databases that take advantage of Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) functionality. TDE is a technology employed by both Microsoft and Oracle to encrypt database content, offering encryption at a column, table and tablespace level. TDE solves the problem of protecting data at rest, encrypting databases both on the hard drive and consequently on backup media. Enterprises typically employ TDE to solve compliance issues such as PCI DSS. Encryption can also be applied via third-party software. 

If encryption is applied, you need to ask what functionality is used. Determine if it is inherent capability or third-party software. Ask if they are using a specific PKI strategy and whether they are using data loss prevention (DLP) tools. All of the answers to these questions define how your data is protected and the "security maturity level" of your potential cloud provider. 

Another element of this question is organization-specific. Based on what industry you are in, there will be some minimum requirements in place that will tell you whether or not you can store your information in a cloud provider's facility. Government organizations, for example, require that data is protected by token-based encryption. If your potential partner cannot come up with that answer, then you will not be moving into that facility.

2. What compliance regulations do you subscribe to?

Given your organization, there may be specific compliance regulations for housing and managing your data. By choosing a cloud provider that already adheres to PCI security standards for credit card transactions or to HIPPA for storing medical records, for example, you are able to ensure that, without question, auditors will find this data to be properly secured. 
To be certain you are meeting these regulations, you should be able to request to test these security standards. Any trustworthy cloud provider will gladly allow you set up a vulnerability test on the facility to prove they meet your compliance needs.

You must also, however, be sure to ask whether all of a provider's data centers are meeting these compliance standards. Just because one of the vendor's data centers meets these regulations, doesn't mean that is the case across the board, and you must be certain your data always remains in compliant facilities.

3. How are you storing my data?

Many do not view this as a security question, but understanding the architecture of a virtual or dedicated physical environment and knowing how a provider is going to "build the fortress" is key to knowing that your data is truly secure and ensuring that there is a trusted level of accountability.

In building a secure cloud environment, many believe a private cloud with data residing on dedicated hardware is the safest option. However, there have been many advances in that address the concerns. In particular, VMware with specific third-party solutions, has embedded a holistic approach to security and the network to better segregate and secure the virtual environment. 

Virtualization does not mean the same thing to every provider, and "cloud" means different things to different people. Understanding the various models and tech strategies for creating a virtual environment will empower IT decision-makers to weed through the cloud partners to find those that will meet your unique organizational needs. For example, with leading-edge technology from VMware, it is possible to segregate virtual environments on the same hardware, creating a secure, virtual "private cloud" in a mutli-tenant environment. This does not fit the private cloud definition in a traditional sense, but still provides the utmost in security and dedicated resources, ensuring the uptime and availability of their data and applications. 

4. Who are the people protecting the fortress?

Even if the brick-and-mortar facilities and elements of logical security are up to standards, it's important to know who will be handling the daily "care and feeding" of your data and applications. You should understand the hiring practices that your cloud partner has in place and what experience the staff has in terms of managing complex IT operations. If a provider's organization and staff has experience both as a consumer and vendor of cloud services, you can be further assured that they can share your perspective and understand what their offering should entail to serve your business needs.

Furthermore, a cloud provider should be able to tell you how often they are testing their staff, to both certify and re-certify the team to ensure best practices are maintained and a sufficient level of technological competence is achieved.

Your cloud partner should be seen as an extension of your IT operations, and you should be able to put a face to this team of skilled professionals protecting your data. Understand the process by which security matters are escalated, and a trustworthy cloud provider will ensure you that in the off chance the cloud were to go down or your data were to be compromised, one of your dedicated team members would have the experience and capability to manage the situation.

  • Fresh from $532.9M win, Smartflash sues Apple again

    Shortly after a jury in Texas awarded it US$532.9 million in damages in a patent dispute with Apple, patent company Smartflash has sued the iPhone maker again, this time to focus on newer Apple products.

  • John Lewis mail glitch leaves customers with £1.53 bill for marketing circular

    An unknown number of John Lewis and Waitrose customers have been asked to pay a £1.53 postage charge by the Royal Mail after a franking machine failed to correctly stamp letters sent out as part the firm's latest credit card marketing campaign.

  • Insurance firm Staysure fined £175,000 for 'unbelievable' credit card hack

    The ICO has handed online insurance firm Staysure.co.uk a stinging £175,000 fine after chaotic security practices allowed hackers to steal details of 100,000 credit card numbers from the firm's database, several thousand of which experienced fraud.

  • Social discovery app Vurb keeps your favorite apps in one place

    It's Friday night--time for you and your buddies to hammer out your plans for the evening. You know the drill: you start with a group text, then you launch Yelp to find a restaurant or bar nearby. Oh, there will be eight of you? Better make a reservation; switch to Open Table. Joe suggests you catch a movie first, so now you launch Fandango. And the app-switching cycle continues until your plan is finalized.

  • Pizicato lets starving musicians set up virtual tip jars

    The U.S. government is mulling radical changes to the current music-licensing framework, a cobweb of anachronistic regulations. Perhaps a better analogy still would be a noose, because this inequitable licensing regime is in many ways strangling music itself. It's depriving musicians of the financial oxygen they need to sustain their craft.

  • BBC makes it easier to find what you like on iPlayer with BBC Shuffle

    The recommendation engine suggests things you might enjoy watching based on a set of like and dislikes.

  • Firms offered up to £35,000 to find fintech solutions to five industry challenges

    Government-backed competition will offer firms the chance to work with Accenture, American Express, Experian and Lloyds Banking Group

  • Foxconn expects robots to take over more factory work

    The electronics industry may still be reliant on human workers to assemble products, but Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group is hopeful that robots will take over more of the workload soon.

  • Ericsson seeks to block sales of Apple products in US, stepping up patent dispute

    Some Apple products may be banned from sale in the U.S. if Ericsson gets its way after filing a barrage of patent lawsuits.

  • Why Pebble Time, not Android Wear, is Apple Watch's biggest competition

    If you had told me last December that in the first part of 2015, a smartwatch would make headlines across the world, shatter sales records, and create a constant stream of refreshes, hashtags and bad puns, I would have naturally assumed you were talking about Apple Watch. For the past five months we've been anxiously awaiting the "early 2015" debut of Apple's first wearable, an entry so important it's basically put its Android Wear competitors on ice as buyers wait to see what Apple Watch can really do.

  • Toyota begins production of its first hydrogen fuel cell car

    Toyota this week began production of its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV), the Mirai, which will have a starting price of $57,500.

  • The changing face of the datacentre

    Andrew Kirker is a man who knows the datacentre market better than almost anyone. As regional general manager datacentres for Schneider Electric, one of the world's largest manufacturers of datacentre infrastructure, he has his finger firmly on the pulse.

  • Cochlear refines digital roadmap

    Australian hearing implant company, Cochlear, is refining its digital roadmap with investments in enterprise content management (ECM) system across core lines of business.

  • Baker Tilly International deploys global Huddle cloud collaboration platform

    Huddle, the UK startup that raised £32 million in venture capital funding last December, is looking to take on businesses such as Box and Dropbox.

  • Survey: iPhone 6 powers an increase in enterprise adoption of iOS

    Apple's iOS mobile platform gained user share in security-conscious businesses late in 2014, taking it away from Google's Android platform, thanks to the introduction of the iPhone 6 smartphone, according to a survey of its enterprise customers by mobile security vendor Good Technology.

  • Bad with names? 2 Android apps try to help

    A few years ago, Evernote picked up a small contact-manager app called Hello (which was then retitled Evernote Hello). One of the main ideas behind the app was to help those of us who had trouble remembering names (a category I definitely fall into). It let you take notes about people you met at, say, a conference, and pick up extra information, including photos, from LinkedIn. You could then use the info and/or the photos to jog your memory.

  • Yahoo gains U.S. search share on the back of Firefox

  • How to enable Chrome's clutter-free experimental reading mode

    Other browsers have had it for years, but Chrome is finally adding a "Reader mode" that strips down an online article to its most essential parts--images and text--to make it easier to read. The new feature, dubbed Distill, is currently a work in progress but is still worth trying out for full-time Chrome users.

  • PSA: House of Cards season 3 is here

    Netflix's flagship original series House of Cards is back for a third season, dropping into an escalating war over original content.

  • The FCC's net neutrality ruling: 5 things you need to know

    Advocates for open access to the Internet were popping champagne corks on Thursday after the Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of reclassifying broadband Internet as a public utility. In addition to regulating fixed broadband lines that go into your home, the FCC vote also extended public utility rules to mobile broadband for the first time.