A panel of experts debated the question “Is the cloud secure”. The answer is yes it can be, but the user must remain involved in the process.

While the key drivers for cloud adoption are flexibility and scalability, the key concern for users remains data security and this is borne out again in the Cloud Industry Forum’s latest whitepaper. At the inaugural ITPro/CloudPro Cloud Summit yesterday, a panel of experts analysed data security issues. The panel was composed of Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro, Rene Millman of IDC, David Chalmers of HP and Nigel Beighton of Rackspace.

The panel agreed that the various different cloud computing models have developed rapidly and cloud offers a secure option. However, there are dangers from a user perspective. First, cloud is an unknown quantity for some users and they assume that, because it’s cloud it’s insecure. Second, and conversely, some users seem to leave security to the cloud service provider. Clearly, a cloud solution can be secure but the user must take security into account. Users can adopt a secure cloud model and the panel highlighted a number of areas where the user can take control: 

  • Research the market and perform due diligence on your cloud service provider
  • Cloud can be more secure than traditional IT but factor in security right from the start 
  • Accreditations take time and effort to obtain. Has your cloud service provider got any? 
  • Don’t abandon key IT disciplines and engage with your provider on security issues 
  • Ask questions of your cloud service provider and make sure you get the answers

Ultimately, cloud adoption is about appointing a partner not simply a supplier. If a cloud service provider isn’t engaged with the user, then the user should shop around for one that is.