Cloud Security Fears an Exaggeration? We Think Not.

BeyondTrust, August 9th, 2011

According to a recent Computerworld article, outgoing Federal CIO Vivek Kundra was quoted as saying that cloud security fears are being exaggerated. Let’s take a brief look at some of the top government cloud service providers approved by the General Services Administration and see how they have fared in security, just in terms of malicious insiders.

On June 27, The Tech Herald reported that recently leaked AT&T documents to LulzSec came from an insider.

Computerworld reported this past February that Microsoft accused a former employee of stealing 600MB of confidential documents.

CNN reported in November 2008 that Verizon Wireless fired employees after they gained unauthorized access and viewed President Obama’s old cell phone accounts.

A recent study by the Ponemon Institute on the Security of Cloud Computing Providers reports that “the majority of cloud computing providers do not consider security as one of their most important responsibilities.” Organizations that outsource to a cloud vendor often times make their choices based on price instead of security. Often this transition involves multiplying the number of IT admins with access to the company’s data several-fold and without proper admin controls. Kind of a scary thought, isn’t it?

If cloud computing providers don’t consider security one of their top responsibilities, are the fears around cloud security really being exaggerated? Let’s ask the millions of customers who have had their personal information compromised or the thousands of organizations who have had their sensitive corporate data divulged.

Jim Zierick, EVP of product operations here at BeyondTrust, recommends that if an organization is going to move processing to the cloud, they prioritize and oversee security at cloud vendors, insist on reporting and improve protections of even less sensitive data.