Cloud computing is not free from risks. Smart organisations recognise the risks and deal with them. If your organisation is migrating to the cloud and is worried about security, it is a healthy sign. You are gearing up to identify possible risks and deal with them. We have listed a few commonly talked about risks below for starting you off on your journey of discovery.
Risk #1 – Data security. This is a real concern. You are entrusting your data to a third party cloud vendor. You may or may not know where your data will actually be stored, who will be given access to your data and how many times and on to what servers it will be replicated for redundancy and high availability. You do not have to take this risk blindfolded. You can get your vendor to spell out the details for you. You can evaluate the level of risk involved and take steps to ensure that your data remains your intellectual property, and will not be compromised in any manner by the activities of your cloud vendor. The good news is that most cloud service providers are ready to provide you with any information you may want in this direction and even willing to commit to keeping your data secure from unauthorized entities. You can retain control over your data by employing “user defined” encryption keys to encrypt your data on their storage vaults.
Risk #2 – Integration APIs require validation. True. Cloud services provide standard APIs. Customers using the cloud service must evaluate these APIs for any flaws and understand the extent of risk involved. Ask your cloud service provider all the right questions about the APIs and also about the underlying infrastructure sharing protocols, so that you are fully aware of how and where your data is stored and how accessible it is to others who are sharing that same infrastructure over the cloud. With the right tools and technology, you should be able to address the risks involved.
Risk #3 – Cloud can complicate IT budgeting. True, if you have not centralised your cloud service purchases, your budget could get a bit complicated. If multiple branches of your organisation are purchasing services from multiple cloud vendors, the risk of disintegration is great. Budgeting can get complicated, and confusion can prevail. Ensure that cloud service purchase is centralised and all your branches ride the same cloud. Centralizing your cloud services could even safe you money as the provider could add additional services as a package for smaller fees. Centralised management is convenient as usage can be monitored and users can be tracked from a single window interface.