May 6 2009   5:30PM GMT

Watching Your Data Evaporate in the Cloud

Arian Eigen Heald Arian Eigen Heald Profile: Arian Eigen Heald

“Cloud” computing continues to beat the drum of “cutting costs.” Although I must say that I am hard put to differentiate between “cloud computing” and data centers that host hardware, the emphasis seems to be on shared server resources and supposedly quick turnaround for new applications.

In my experience, “quick application development” is usually another way of saying “open everything up to make it work,” followed by “oops.” Or “ouch.”

The giants (Amazon, Google and IBM) are promising to customize security for their clients, but I have yet to see a price tag on that promise, or a standard for security in a cloud. I suspect that there isn’t one, and isn’t likely to be one.

Here’s some questions that keep me wondering:

How would they implement different levels of security on the same hardware/server OS?
How do I know who else is sharing my server?
How do I know that my confidential data is secure? (Think PCI and HIPAA)
How would I handle eDiscovery?
Who maintains logs – specifically audit trails?
How does handing off security to a third-party affect compliance?
Where is my backup data?
And, uh, what happens if the cloud vendor goes belly up?
Who is responsible for a data breach?

Faster, better, cheaper – pick TWO.

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