Since 30 years, there is a race for data security. The internal servers must be protected from outside intrusion.
Now it’s time for cloud computing and the main obstacles to its adoption are related to issues of security and privacy.
In this article, we review the latest reliability problems and the privacy policies of cloud computing actors.
IT systems of companies have been built in-house for the past 30 years. With the advent of the Internet and the opening to the outside world of these systems, the race for security has never stopped.
Protect internal servers against intrusion, maintain secrecy over its data has been a leitmotif. With the advent of cloud computing, the idea of delegating its servers and informations to an outside company appeared in this context, almost absurd.
Yet we know the effectiveness of cloud computing. And, according to a study by PAC, EMC, Intel and VMware in 2010, 43% of the fears to shift to cloud computing are linked to issues of security and privacy (in France – French link).
A reliability problem?
According to recent news, it is normal to have doubts.
These doubts are based on problems with the reliability of services. Here are several examples:
- Microsoft: BPOS is offering online services for businesses of Microsoft. In December last, some data could be inadvertently downloaded by other clients. Microsoft talks about very specific circumstances for a problem that was solved in two hours. Also, on June 22, BPOS had another problem that led the U.S. to unavailability for nearly three hours.
- Amazon: In April, due to the failure that affected its infrastructure, Amazon lost customer data. The company said that only 0.07% of hosted data can not be recovered.
- Google: Google’s last crash was in 2010 and has blocked access to Google App Engine for a little over two hours. But Google is the only one that guarantees 99.9% of availability for email service, which corresponds to less than nine hours of downtime per year.
Is cloud computing reliable?
So there are actually failures, as on any server. The questions that you really need to ask are as follows. When such incidents happen on a server in the company, are you able to retrieve your data as are these providers?
Are your servers assure reliability for 100% of the time? It is clear that the experience, expertise and resources used by these specialists far exceed those of any organization.
The safety report of ENISA published in 2009 is explicit on the various points related to safety. Contrary to popular belief, cloud computing presents real safety benefits.
There is another fear expressed by the companies.
How to navigate the jungle of offers available?
Many say they are professional but few actually deliver a service or offer a clear privacy true guarantee for businesses.
For Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google Apps for Business, agreements are clear. Its committed to the confidentiality of data. Google Apps even describes the five principles of confidentiality.
But this is not the case for all providers. For example, the famous Dropbox service, which allows you to save and synchronize personal folders, is questionable. Last topic dated about this service provider, here are some of the terms has recently updated this company:
Sometimes we need your permission to use your work (for example, hosting or sharing files). By submitting your work, you grant us access (and those we work with to provide services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, license fees, use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translation or format conversions) to publicly perform or display such work to the extent reasonable and necessary for the service.Source
The terms are very clear here: Dropbox reserves the right to use, modify and distribute your data.
One thing is certain: every cloud service providers should state their policy of confidentiality. Read the agreement before any commitment has always been and remains an essential element for decision. This important point often helps you better choose your offer.
Should be alarmist?
Offers tailored to professionals such as SalesForce, Amazon Web Services, Google Apps or even Microsoft Online respect those engagements.
They provide much better data confidentiality than in the case of an internal data storage. Remember that 80% of leaks are from within a company.
Why trust them?
To answer this question it is sufficient to understand the strategic challenges of the companies providing cloud computing service. They know the concerns of companies to entrust their personal data.
They engage their credibility and have an absolutely vital interest to respect the confidentiality of informations entrusted.
In cloud computing, the competitor is a click away. It has never been so easy to export information to another service.
To ensure customer loyalty, manufacturers of cloud make the security of our information a priority. We know they watch over the data of their customers just like theirs.
Moreover, they use exactly the same system as for themselves. As Google, called it “eat your-own-dogfood“. An expression that was born in 1988 at … Microsoft!