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Cloud: Winning the trust war in security gamut

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Gartner predicts the global cloud computing market will grow 18.5 per cent this year to $131 billion. Cloud computing is on its winning track

Initially CIOs had a sceptical approach for cloud, mainly because of the security aspect. But gradually the concept is coming up with flying colours. Cloud applications have gone beyond simple metrics to bring insights and useful intelligence on secured platforms. It is only after successful cloud-based pilots, that the enterprises have gained confidence in it.

When a cloud pilot moves beyond showing how it can automate a process and starts making contributions to the proficiency and knowledge of a company, trust scales up quickly. Organizations from banks to app developers, all are starting to give it a try.

Reasons behind initial insecurity-
Less Transparency - Data stored in a cloud provider's devices is not located on a single machine, in a single location or country. In fact, the data is stored and processed across the entire virtual layer. There are two critical issues involved here: one is the physical location of the storage and processing sites, and the other is the security profiles of these sites. In general, consumer's perception is that a cloud is generally less secure than an in-house system, but better transparency by the vendors is helping in addressing this issue.

Less Control - We trust a system less when we do not have much control over our assets. The more control consumers have over the data consigned to a cloud, the more they are inclined to trust the system. When enterprises relegate their data to cloud computing, it creates two folds of a complex trust relationship because the data represents both their own interests and those
of their clients.

On one hand, the enterprise must trust the cloud provider and secondly, the enterprise needs to ascertain that its clients have enough reason to trust the same provider.

Suggestive guidelines when opting for Cloud-
When an enterprise is thinking about using a cloud service or SaaS vendor it has the task to assess the vendor and determine the associated risks, liabilities, and responsibilities. To perform an assessment an enterprise should go ahead with an on-site visit and perform an indepth interview to assess the service. Or remotely the enterprise may choose to let the vendor perform a self-assessment by responding to a comprehensive questionnaire.

Transparency is significant - The magnitude of trust varies from organization to organization, which is highly dependent on the data's value. Furthermore, the more an enterprise wants to exercise control over its data and even the technology, the less trust it has in the cloud provider. It is crucial that consumers and providers change their mindsets because anyhow the goal remains the same - improve business and remain competitive by exploiting the benefits of a new technology. Any new technology has to steadily build its repute for good performance and security, earning users' trust over time.

To gain consumers' trust, cloud providers must offer better transparency and more consumer control of data and processes. Service providers are making headway in gaining customers' trust by nurturing transparency through clear service-level agreements.

Assess the real risks - Most of the organisations have significant concerns about privacy when their data is stored in a cloud service. But the greater risk is data loss through an unrecoverable technical collapse, a deliberate attack against a prominent cloud vendor or a clumsy user error by a person. Some providers underestimate the problem, claiming that secure measures like offline backups are unnecessary. Buyers must be acquainted with the importance of vendor viability and perform frequent evaluations of their critical providers' to assess and monitor data continuity and recovery capabilities.

What helps in boosting confidence in Cloud?
There are several reasons behind this growing acceptance of cloud. Major ones are listed below:
Better Service Level Agreements (SLA's) - Clear SLAs give a concrete foundation for a trusted relationship between cloud service providers and customers.

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