How Secure?

May 6, 2011

Three recent events put the spotlight on cyber security . One, Amazon, which lends out its server farms for the use of customers in an arrangement popularly called cloud computing, suffered a major outage , halting the services of some clients. Two, hackers mounted a denial of service attack on Sony, in the process of which vital information including credit card details of around 100 million customers – 77 million Playstation users and other online entertainment service customers – got stolen.

And three, it comes to light that US intelligence tracked down Osama bin Laden by eavesdropping on a conversation between someone it was tracking and another person who turned out to be Osama’s elusive courier. There are lessons to be learned from all three developments. The first is not to conclude that cloud computing is, by definition, insecure. By doing away with the need to own expensive hardware and software , offering scalability and upgradation and bringing down the cost of operations, cloud computing will continue to be an attractive business proposition and it makes sense for industry to exploit its advantages.

However, there is a clear need to plan ahead for different kinds of failure of different components of what is sourced from the cloud: some of Amazon’s clients came out unscathed while others shut down temporarily. Distributing resources and creating architecture in which software parts can work independently are obvious solutions. These, and obtaining professional risk management for cloud failure, will add to the cost but would still not negate the overall cost efficacy of cloud computing.

Souce How Secure?

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