Every Cloud Needs a Silver Lining

Gilad Parann-Nissany

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Private vs. Public Cloud Security: Which Should You Choose?

public vs private cloud public cloud security private cloud security  public private cloud security Private vs. Public Cloud Security: Which Should You Choose?Once you have made the decision that cloud computing is the way for your business to move forward, you are faced with the dilemma of where to keep your data for convenience, efficiency and most of all, security. When comparing private versus public cloud, it is clear that both have their advantages and disadvantages, in terms of control, ownership, cost and convenience. Yet the bottom line is that you can be very successful – and secure – with both.

Private Cloud Security

With a private cloud, you control the physical servers and the access to them. This means that you can create physical controls (such as walls) to protect your system, and can design the architecture of the private cloud to fit your exact needs. On the other hand, private cloud security means that you need to become an expert in creating and deploying your cloud infrastructure. This is a complex and expensive task.

Private clouds, at first blush, seem more secure than public clouds. Indeed, the physical ownership of the infrastructure does create a sense of greater control.

However, in work with real-life private clouds, we have found major scenarios where security for private clouds is very similar to security in public clouds. When your customers – who use the applications offered by your private cloud – are external to your organization, they will tend to see your infrastructure as public. From their point of view, it is. And then the security discussion in private and public clouds is very similar.

Public Cloud Security

The public cloud is a challenge to data security, since the data is no longer under your control. The cloud provider may have access to your data and the potential to share it with others. Industries which are heavily regulated, such as the healthcare and financial industries must be doubly careful about sending data into the cloud. Since you are dependent on an external vendor, the quality of the cloud provider is a major concern as well.

But public cloud security is entirely possible: cloud security providers do offer advanced encryption methods to ensure that data in clouds remains secure. Experts do keep up with the latest regulations and can offer you the expertise to achieve the highest level of security to ensure that your company stays compliant.

However, there are caveats and best practices. First, use encryption. Cloud encryption is by now not just a best practice but almost a no-brainer, especially if you hold sensitive health or financial data.

Second, you must retain ownership of your data – by retaining ownership of the encryption keys. Even though data is in the cloud, by keeping your encryption keys to yourself – not letting them into the hands of any of your cloud service providers – you ensure that your data remains your own.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be in good shape to enjoy the benefits of public and private clouds without the risks.

Practical considerations

On a practical level, small and medium enterprises don’t usually have the time and resources to devote to creating a private cloud. Even larger enterprises often find that the public cloud is less expensive and more convenient than setting up a private one. You should analyze the customers and users of your cloud. If they are internal and you have many – a private cloud may be your best option. If your customers are external – you’ll find soon enough that the security requirements are similar between private and public clouds.

Finally, the best cloud security providers – for both private and public clouds – are those who don’t give themselves access to your data or encryption keys. If they can’t possibly see it themselves, you can be confident that control and ownership has remained in your own hands.

The post Private vs. Public Cloud Security: Which Should You Choose? appeared first on Porticor Cloud Security.

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More Stories By Gilad Parann-Nissany

Gilad Parann-Nissany, Founder and CEO at Porticor is a pioneer of Cloud Computing. He has built SaaS Clouds for medium and small enterprises at SAP (CTO Small Business); contributing to several SAP products and reaching more than 8 million users. Recently he has created a consumer Cloud at G.ho.st - a cloud operating system that delighted hundreds of thousands of users while providing browser-based and mobile access to data, people and a variety of cloud-based applications. He is now CEO of Porticor, a leader in Virtual Privacy and Cloud Security.