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Recent Trends Of Security In Cloud Computing Systems

9 months ago

Cloud Computing represents one of the most significant shifts in information technology many of us are likely to see in our lifetimes. Reaching the point where computing functions as a utility has great Potential, promising innovations we cannot yet imagine. Customers are both excited and nervous at the prospects of Cloud Computing. They are excited by the opportunities to reduce capital costs. They are excited for a chance to divest themselves of infrastructure management, and focus on core competencies. Most of all, they are excited by the agility offered by the on-demand provisioning of computing and the ability to align information technology with business strategies and needs more readily. However, customers are also very concerned about the risks of Cloud Computing if not properly secured, and the loss of direct control over systems for which they are nonetheless accountable. To aid both cloud customers and cloud providers, CSA developed “Security Guidance for Critical Areas in Cloud Computing”, initially released in April 2009, and revised in December 2009. This guidance has quickly become the industry standard catalogue of best practices to secure Cloud Computing, consistently lauded for its comprehensive approach to the problem, across 13 domains of concern.

Numerous organizations around the world are incorporating the guidance to manage their cloud strategies. The guidance document can be downloaded at The great breadth of recommendations provided by CSA guidance creates an implied responsibility for the reader. Not all recommendations are applicable to all uses of Cloud Computing. Some cloud services host customer information of very low sensitivity, while others represent mission critical business functions. Some cloud applications contain regulated personal information, while others instead provide cloud-based protection against external threats. It is incumbent upon the cloud customer to understand the organizational value of the system they seek to move into the cloud. Ultimately, CSA guidance must be applied within the context of the business mission, risks, rewards, and cloud threat environment using sound risk management practices.

The purpose of this document, “Top Threats to Cloud Computing”, is to provide needed context to assist Organizations in making educated risk management decisions regarding their cloud adoption strategies. In essence, this threat research document should be seen as a companion to “Security Guidance for Critical Areas in Cloud Computing”. As the first deliverable in the CSA’s Cloud Threat Initiative, the “Top Threats” document will be updated regularly to reflect expert consensus on the probable threats which customers should be concerned about.

Dr. Rajiv Srivastava

Director, SIRT