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Data protection in the Cloud

posted 22 May 2012, 09:55 by Chris Barrow   [ updated 25 Feb 2013, 11:49 ]

Now you are in the Cloud what about data protection?

34% of organisations say that cloud computing will become integral to their data protection plans over the next year, with Cloud resources becoming important part of data protection strategies.

The use of cloud computing among businesses has been increasing rapidly in recent months. At the same time, the amount of data that companies have to manage continues to explode and companies are under renewed pressure to keep it safe. The investment in business continuity continues to rise, and much of this spending is starting to be directed towards solutions that use cloud computing resources.

Of the companies that are already using cloud, a very high proportion are confident in the safety of their data, whether they are utilising public or private cloud. This highlights the positivity of the current trend towards cloud as a data protection resource.

Many business owners not already using these services are concerned about data protection and cloud security. but can they really claim hand on heart, that they devote as much time, money and skills to data protection as the large cloud providers such as Google and Amazon?

The cloud security debate rumbles on, while cloud providers sling muck at each other claiming their competitors cloud service is not secure. On one side, there are business owners who say that, for them, security concerns remain the biggest barrier to cloud adoption, with questions such as where is my data, who owns it and who can see it. Why should they trust a third party to protect their company’s valuable data? On the other hand, cloud providers claim that the money, skills and time that they devote to security means they can offer levels of security that the in-house efforts of potential customers could never match.

They have a point, particularly when it comes to small and medium sized businesses who don’t have the time, money and skills to devote to IT security. In the the age of the cloud, governments and organisations should re evaluate what this means to them.


Cloud Computing Security Benefits Dispel Adoption Barrier for Small to Midsize Businesses

Mon, May 14 2012
REDMOND, Wash. — May 14, 2012 — Research released today by Microsoft Corp. shows that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are gaining significant IT security benefits from using the cloud, according to a new Microsoft study in five geographies.

Cloud Security Benefits for SMBs (U.S.) 
May 13, 2012
Cloud security is a key topic of discussion for many considering the cloud. Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group conducted research in the small and midsize businesses (SMB) sector in the U.S.

The study shows that 35 percent of U.S. companies surveyed have experienced noticeably higher levels of security since moving to the cloud.1 In addition, 32 percent say they spend less time worrying about the threat of cyberattacks. U.S. SMBs using the cloud also spend 32 percent less time each week managing security than companies not using the cloud. They are also five times more likely to have reduced what they spend on managing security as a percentage of overall IT budget.

“There’s a perception that security is a barrier to cloud adoption,” said Adrienne Hall, general manager, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing. “Yet when companies embrace and invest in cloud services, they find the benefits far outweigh previous concerns.”Time and money spent managing security prior to using cloud services is being reinvested by SMBs to grow their businesses and be more competitive. 
When it comes to vendor-sponsored surveys, there’s always an element of ‘Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?” But the question remains, nevertheless: Could it actually be the case that, for many companies, cloud computing represents not a risk to data protection, but instead an opportunity for substantial improvement?

Google, one of the leading cloud service providers takes its security and that of it's customers very seriously.

In an excerpt from their security white paper they say, The security of online services is a topic of increasing interest to enterprises as the number of third party hosted service offerings has expanded in recent years.

The emergence of various “cloud computing” concepts and definitions has highlighted not only questions about data ownership and protection, but also how various vendors of cloud computing technologies build and implement their services. Security experts, end-users and enterprises alike are all considering the security implications of the cloud computing model.

Google Apps™ (comprising Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and other web applications) provide familiar, easy to use products and services for business settings. These services, characterized by redundant computing environments and dynamic resource allocation, enable customers to access their data virtually anytime and anywhere from Internet-capable devices. This computing environment — often called the “cloud” — allows CPU, memory and storage resources to be shared and utilized by many customers while also offering security benefits.

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 compartmentalization, server assignment, data storage, and processing.

Google Security white paper

By Chris Barrow
Aragorn Consulting - Google Apps™ Authorized Reseller


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