Security in the Cloud—A Little Known Advantage, Actually

By Ron Luebke, Senior Director Cloud Architecture EMEA, Teradata

Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it: Public cloud infrastructures are more secure, and the security is more cost-effective, than the majority of on-premises data centers.
That should get the blood flowing.
With the word “public” in its name, cloud computing starts off with a bit of a reputation problem when it comes to security. Let me give you three reasons why the cloud is more secure than you think.

1. Public cloud providers have armies of security personnel. They have to. Cloud companies have security as a part of their core business. If you’re not a hosting company or internet service provider (ISP), dedicating a large portion of your technical staffing resources to this critical IT piece can be prohibitively expensive. This leads to taking shortcuts when the core business can’t afford the time or money. With cloud computing, the security is part of their core directive.

But aren’t these armies of experts costly to the cloud providers also? Absolutely, but that cost is spread across tens of thousands of customers. You get the benefit of a huge pool of expertise at a fraction of the cost.

2. Default configurations are closed as opposed to open. Will it protect you from boneheaded moves like setting your configuration wide open to the internet? No. But it WILL start off closed and force you to open it up, as opposed to many products starting wide open from a security standpoint for ease of installation. In addition, the cloud supports encryption of data at rest and in flight. How many systems in your data center can do that? If you follow the protocols, the public cloud-based infrastructure starts off secure.

At Teradata, our cloud systems are built with secure practices and configurations from the very beginning. From our built-in authentication and authorization to encrypted communication, we keep your most sensitive data secure. We leverage the public cloud vendors’ encryption to secure the data at rest using their generated keys or your company-provided ones.


3. The systems and infrastructure aren’t your biggest risk. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), human causes are the leading reasons for data breaches, at 73.4 percent. But addressing these pesky user issues are hard (really hard!), and it’s often easier to address the minority we can control. With a very large and diverse customer base, Teradata has subject matter experts on staff in data analytics and storage to help categorize and curate your data so that it isn’t exposed to the wrong parties, both internal and external. We can also help you implement best practices on the human side of the equation.

So why is there a perception that the public cloud can’t be secure? I think for two main reasons. First, as I stated earlier, the word “public” implies a default openness that just isn’t there – but it does make for a good sound bite. Second, it’s an emotional reaction that data feels more secure when you can go out and touch the hardware that contains it. We are wired to feel that way. Unfortunately, being able to lay your hands on a server—and that server being secure—are two very different things.
There are many reasons why the cloud can be more secure than your typical company-run data center. I encourage you to follow the conversation at #CloudExperts or #BuiltForTheCloud.

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