Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Dana Gardner, Gopala Krishna Behara

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Who’s Responsible for Protecting Data Stored in the Cloud?

Cloud is the natural evolution of the data center - but with it comes responsibility

With cloud comes the notion of liberation. Cloud is the natural evolution of the data center. It’s easy to deploy, infinitely scalable, and highly redundant. It is the shiny new

component inside the storage controller and is making it possible for an old dog to learn some very impressive new tricks. But with the cloud, comes responsibility.

An article recently appeared over at BusinessWeek explaining how many businesses now operate under the assumption that once their data is sent offsite they need not be concerned with protecting it. In a perfect world, this is how it should work. One of the main selling points of outsourcing infrastructure is the idea that there is now one less thing for IT to worry about. However, before any business can trust a third party to protect their invaluable corporate IP, some due diligence must be conducted.

The two areas businesses need to be concerned with are:

  1. Security and Encryption - Is my data protected from a malicious third party?
  2. Durability - What happens if I lose the local copy of my data? What if one or more of the cloud provider’s data centers are destroyed?

Security in Cloud StorageSecurity and Encryption
Not that one is more important than the other, but most of the focus tends to fall on the security and encryption category. No matter what a vendor says in their SLA, one of the more critical components of “protecting data” has to do with how the keys are handled. Do you generate your own key? Who controls it? Does data remain encrypted at rest or is it modified in the cloud (outside of your control)?

The only way to ensure absolute security is to use a system in which the end user (IT/Storage Admin) generates and controls the crypto keys. Under no circumstances should the storage vendor hold a copy of your keys. If data is encrypted before it leaves your data center using a trusted form of encryption (i.e. OpenPGP) and the end user is the only party controlling the keys, there is no way the data can be compromised by a third-party hacker or by a malicious employee at the cloud provider.

Durability
The second component has to do with the actual durability/redundancy of your data. You could be using the best security and encryption in the world, but if your data only exists in two physical data centers - and both are wiped out, your data is gone. One of the inherent benefits of the cloud is the unique property of geographic replication. When a file is stored in Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure it is saved on multiple servers, located in multiple data centers. It is through this technique of geographically dispersed replication that Amazon is able to offer their incredible 99.999999999% durability. Even if you utilized site-to-site replication and nightly tape backups, the cost to achieve anywhere near that level of durability would be astronomical. It is for this reason the large cloud providers will continue to dominate the market as the barriers to entry continue to rise. It’s no small task to build a cloud. Iron Mountain is one of the more recent examples of this, and it’s likely we’ll see more consolidation in the future.

A Team Effort
So to answer the question of who is responsible for protecting data stored in the cloud, as you’ve likely guessed, it’s a combination of the vendor and the end user. The vendor needs to do their part to ensure the data is secured by proper use of encryption (customer holds the keys!), and replicated in multiple data centers spread across multiple geographies. The end user should have a general knowledge of proper key handling and ask the right questions when it comes to data durability. With the right boxes checked, there is no reason why data stored in the cloud cannot be as, if not more secure than data stored on-site.

More Stories By Louis Abate

Louis is a connoisseur of technology, photography and music. As a passionate tastemaker, he is on a lifelong mission to seek out and evangelize best of breed products and services.

At Nasuni, he heads up the multimedia content creation and social aspects of the company. With one eye on the constant flow of industry news and the other on Nasuni’s services, you’ll find Louis writing about the evolving storage industry and general musings about high technology in the modern office.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...