Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Security: Not an Oxymoron

The realities of security practices at leading cloud providers

Some businesses today are nervous about moving to cloud-delivered technology because it means allowing their system data to reside somewhere other than their own data center. For some, this can be a tough concept to grasp, especially for those who have spent 25 years or more hosting their company's systems and data. But cloud computing providers could not exist without implementing strong security controls for their customers' information. The reality is that leading cloud solutions include security features well beyond what most manufacturing companies can afford to implement on their own.

In this article readers will learn about some realities of the security practices at leading cloud providers and the questions that should be asked by those considering use of a cloud solution.

Does the cloud solution have a risk assessment process that addresses risks to information assets?
The starting point of an effective security process is the identification of the information security risks for the cloud provider. Risk assessments are performed to identify the various sources of information and how the information might be breached. There are a number of different risk assessment models that exist and cloud service providers should have a process to identify information risks. After identifying risks, the company can then develop controls to mitigate those risks.

Has the cloud solution implemented documented security policies and procedures?
Based on risks identified through the risk assessment process, the cloud service provider should develop a set of policies and supporting procedures to implement necessary controls to address its risks. Ad hoc policies and procedures or those that are not documented and implemented at a cloud service provider should raise red flags. Instead, sophisticated security policies and procedures should be implemented that establish the organization's practices and are required, ultimately establishing accountability for achieving control objectives.

Does the cloud solution perform security vulnerability or penetration testing?
Penetration or vulnerability tests are scans against the company's infrastructure to determine whether there are any security vulnerabilities (for example, a critical system patch that hasn't been applied where hackers could exploit this weakness). The purpose of these types of tests are to identify where systems might be subject to internal or external attacks and to identify what measures can be taken to protect against or eliminate these threats. Companies with good security practices regularly perform these tests and take actions to respond to threats identified.

What measures have been implemented by the cloud solution to physically protect their data center?
Physically secure data centers are critical to protecting cloud systems. Cloud providers should be able to provide state-of-the-art data centers with restricted access and sufficient physical barriers to prevent unauthorized access attempts. Well-protected data centers can be very costly and many manufacturers cannot afford to provide the level of security attained by cloud providers.

What types of third-party audits are performed for the cloud solution?
There are a number of third-party audits that cloud service providers may obtain. Third-party audits provide independent assurance related to various operations of the cloud provider. Reports that are common in the cloud industry include SOC 1, SOC 2 and in some cases, SOC 3 reports, which are "Service Organization Controls" audit reports performed and signed by a certified public accountant. These reports cover different types of controls at cloud service providers. These reports can be a valuable source of information related to controls at the cloud provider.

More Stories By Tom DeCoe

Tom DeCoe is Plex Systems’ vice president of infrastructure and is responsible for defining the strategic development of the Plex Manufacturing Cloud and ensuring its technology meets and exceeds customers’ requirements to support efficient business processes in the manufacturing enterprise. He is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a BS in Computer Science and Math.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


CloudEXPO Stories
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leading global enterprises use Isomorphic technology to reduce costs and improve productivity, developing & deploying sophisticated business applications with unprecedented ease and simplicity.
DevOps has long focused on reinventing the SDLC (e.g. with CI/CD, ARA, pipeline automation etc.), while reinvention of IT Ops has lagged. However, new approaches like Site Reliability Engineering, Observability, Containerization, Operations Analytics, and ML/AI are driving a resurgence of IT Ops. In this session our expert panel will focus on how these new ideas are [putting the Ops back in DevOps orbringing modern IT Ops to DevOps].
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understanding as the environment changes.
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.