Getting Out of the Cloud
We recently attended a presentation by a Cloud Service Provider who spoke about how they ensure availability for their clients. He explained how when you leverage their infrastructure, they immediately replicate each virtual machine multiple times to ensure the highest levels of service. Interestingly, because he was speaking to an audience of security folks, the audience was more concerned about the security implications, rather than calmed by the promise their applications wouldn’t suffer any downtime.
This tension between availability and security is critical to understand as you move applications to a hybrid or public cloud. Most CSPs provide a highly-virtualized infrastructure, which allows them to maximize scalability and to use their physical hardware at maximum efficiency.
So not only are your applications co-mingled with those of other companies sharing servers, your data may also be replicated and backed up numerous times on the same media as other CSP clients. This is concerning in itself, but you also need to think about how to securely decommission your applications from the cloud should you decide to change providers, or the cloud is no longer needed for your business or if the CSP goes out of business.
It’s simply not feasible for most CSPs to track down and delete each copy of your data should you decide to change providers. This is where encryption can help.
If you encrypt your applications and data before they are spun up in the cloud, you not only ensure that your data stays private while it is in use and at rest, but you can also ‘shred’ your data permanently should you decide you want to decommission from a CSP.
Not all encryption vendors support this functionality, so you definitely want to make sure that your vendor offers a robust key management system. Don’t let data privacy concerns prevent you from the advantages of using Infrastructure as a Service, or create vendor lock-in with your CSP. If you’d like to take a test drive of HighCloud’s encryption and key management for virtualized environments, download it today. It’s free, and it only takes a few minutes to set up.