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Cloud computing firms work to tighten security profile

06 мая 2011

Cloud computing companies are aggressively adding security features in a campaign to protect their services that are picking up steam after a series of high-profile break-ins and outages.

International Business Machines Corp. recently introduced the IBM SmartCloud service which allows clients to select security, performance and support levels for cloud services they buy from the tech giant. EMC Corp., Cisco Corp. and VMware Inc. have paired up to offer cloud data-centers called Vblocks, where companies can share computing resources while ensuring each company's data remain secure.

On Wednesday, Salesforce.com Inc. joined with Internet security specialist Symantec Corp. to beef up protection on its cloud computing system. The San Francisco-based company will distribute Symantec Security Assessment to its users through AppExchange, Salesforce's online app store. The tool will enable Salesforce.com users to view the security of both their cloud and enterprise computer networks simultaneously, said Salesforce.com Vice President Ron Huddleston said.

The security campaigns come amid growing concerns over the protection and reliability of data stored on cloud-computing networks, which let companies access programs and information via the Internet. Many companies are interested in cloud computing because it can lower their technology costs but are uncomfortable storing sensitive information remotely.

Their concern is well-founded, experts say.

Earlier this year, Google Inc.'s popular Gmail system failed, erasing many customer emails. In March, the network at an Alliance Data Systems' subsidiary, Epsilon Data Management, was breached, resulting in the loss of customer data. And in April, Amazon.com Inc. suffered a glitch that took down several Web sites relying on its cloud services.

More worryingly, Sony Corp. said last week the systems running some of its online videogame services were hacked, resulting in the theft of personal data, perhaps even credit card information for up to 10 million customers.

Jim Reavis, executive director of the Washington-based Cloud Security Alliance, says attacks on corporate networks have been limited by security software over the past decade. Still, the move to capitalize on cloud computing has demonstrated that corporate firewalls "are not sufficient to protect applications and data that can exist anywhere," he said.

Episodes such as the breach of Sony's gaming service heighten concern and have made security "the number one barrier to adoption of cloud computing," he said. The cost of repairing a data breach is high, but Reavis said the "lost opportunity if the industry doesn't address security is even higher."

Rob Owens, security and infrastructure analyst for investment bank Pacific Crest, said Salesforce.com can use its Symantec partnership "to brand itself with a security leader." Still, Owens said companies need to address basic security questions such as the strength of passwords and levels of access within their cloud services before they can get benefits from higher levels of encryption and other steps.

Ken Schneider, chief technology officer for Symantec's enterprise security group said the goal was to provide a "comprehensive platform to identify weaknesses and remediate them." Symantec has worked with other cloud companies. Last year, it provided security for Amazon's Elastic Cloud.

Источник: Total Telecom

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