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The Many Colors of Cloud Encryption

April 1, 2011

Cloud computing is a priority for enterprises seeking greater agility, operational efficiency and overall cost reduction, but security concerns continue to inhibit its use. Half of all companies not adopting cloud computing cite security as the reason, according to a Forrester Research October 2010 study, “Security and the Cloud.”

Whether considering a private cloud or public cloud, IT professionals face new security and compliance challenges. As data moves to the cloud, it can migrate internally to a mixed trust environment or outside of the traditional corporate perimeter to environments that lead to nightmare scenarios among security professionals. While non-sensitive data in the cloud poses little concern, securing sensitive data is a major challenge. Encryption, when properly deployed and managed, can enable enterprises to safely cloud-enable applications and control sensitive corporate or personal information in the cloud.

In determining the correct approach for encryption in the cloud, it is necessary to evaluate whether the chosen approach will support business needs. How can I run applications in the cloud while avoiding application redesign or recoding? How can I encrypt data generated by applications running in the cloud but maintain custodianship of keys? Will encryption hinder application performance? Will it allow policies enabling a separation of duties between IT operations, IT security, and cloud administrators?

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