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Avoiding cloud security pitfalls

Enterprises need to take responsibility for cloud security and work together with their service providers if they are going to avoid the pitfalls, said Telstra enterprise and infrastructure services IT director Lalitha Biddulph.

Speaking at the Datacentre Dynamics Converged conference in Sydney, Biddulph told delegates that there were a number of risks that enterprises should be aware of when using cloud services such as data loss and leakage.

Read more on managing security in the cloud

"This is a platform on which you are putting data in a multi-tenanted utility model. It is possible that the service could be misconfigured and your data may be compromised," she said.

In addition, cross site scripting could create opportunities for cyber criminals to hijack credentials from the cloud provider.

"Watch out for people who are constantly scanning the system for vulnerabilities. Your cloud provider will need to have good security monitoring because it is a shared environment," Biddulph said.

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She added that organisations need to watch out for cloud lock-in.

"A lot of cloud services are proprietary and once you move your data in there, you may have given away your right to shift data by choosing to use a particular service.

"Due diligence is something that you need to be aware of. A friend of mine has decided to put 40,000 employees' email onto Google Mail because he has done the assessment and deemed it an acceptable risk," she said.

When using a cloud provider, Biddulph said that backup services are critical.

"One method we use at Telstra is putting data in one state and backing it up in another state. Alternatively, you could have your data with one cloud provider and back it up with another."

She pointed out that cloud computing offers businesses a number of benefits including reduced costs, speed to market and flexibility.

"Due to the proliferation of businesses owned by Telstra, we have a true hybrid cloud model. We use applications that run on proprietary hardware. We also have private cloud and dedicated hosting," she said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia


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