Security and Compliance Challenges of Cloud Computing

Introduction:Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. In cloud computing, the word cloud (also phrased as “the cloud”) is used as a metaphor for ” the Internet,” so the phrase cloud computing means “a type of Internet-based computing,” where different services – such as servers, storage and applications – are delivered to an organization’s computers and devices through the Internet.

Cloud computing is comparable to grid computing, a type of computing where unused processing cycles of all computers in a network are harnesses to solve problems too intensive for any stand-alone computer. Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). The name comes from the use of a cloud -shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation. Below is a logical diagram of cloud computing –

Cloud computing opens up a new world of opportunities for businesses, but mixed in with these opportunities are numerous challenges that need to be considered and addressed prior to committing to a cloud computing strategy.

Security is the biggest challenge faced by cloud computing today. As cloud computing is achieving increased popularity, concerns are being voiced about the security issues introduced through adoption of this new model. There are numerous security issues for cloud computing as it encompasses many technologies including networks, database, operating systems, virtualization, resource scheduling, transaction managements, loading balancing, concurrency control and memory management. Therefore, security issues for many of these systems and technologies are applicable to cloud computing.

Cloud computing security challenges falls into three broad categories:

*Data Protection: Securing your data both at rest and in transit

* User Authentication: Limiting access to data and monitoring who accesses the data

* Disaster and Data Breach Contingency Planning

Compliance is also a major challenge in cloud computing. Cloud computing issues arise as soon as you make use of cloud storage or backup services. By moving data from your internal storage to someone else’s you are forced to examine closely how that data will be kept so that you remain compliant with laws and industry regulations.

So, when it comes to cloud compliance what data should you move to the cloud and what should be kept in-house, what questions do you need to ask your cloud provider and what terms should be written into SLAs to maintain compliance?

In data storage terminology, the word compliance is used to refer to industry-wide government regulations and rules that cite how data is managed and the need for organizations to be in compliance with those regulations. The term encompasses data storage, data archiving, data encryption, and also data retrieval. Compliance has become a major concern for organizations and businesses, due largely in part to increasing regulatory requirements which often require organizations to invest in new technologies in order to address compliance issues.

1. INTRODUCTIONCloud computing is a model for convenient and on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management efforts [1] [2]. In simple words, Cloud Computing is the combination of a technology, platform that provides hosting and storage service on the Internet [3]. Main goal of the cloud computing is to provide scalable and inexpensive on-demand computing infrastructures with good quality of service levels [4] [5].

Many companies developing and offering cloud computing products and services but have not properly considered the implications of processing, storing and accessing data in a shared and virtualized environment. In fact, many developers of cloud-based applications struggle to include security. In other cases, developers simply cannot provide real security with currently affordable technological capabilities [6].Cloud computing is sharing of resources on a larger scale which is cost effective and location independent.

Resources on the cloud can be used by the client and deployed by the vendor such as amazon, google, ibm, salesforce, zoho, rackspace, microsoft. It also shares necessary software’s and on-demand tools for various IT Industries. Benefits of Cloud computing are enormous. The most important one is that the customers don’t need to buy the resource from a third party vendor, instead they can use the resource and pay for it as a service thus helping the customer to save time and money. Cloud is not only for Multinational companies but it’s also being used by Small and medium enterprises [7].