Hi, my name is Kasha Blake. Web Developer/ Server Admin: Focused on Mobile responsive design and Search engine optimization


Security versus performance – the cloud computing architecture paradox

scheme about Information Security Attributes

The benefits of cloud computing for global businesses are well known – scalability, mobility and cost efficiency. Cloud computing brings with it the benefits of access to multiple platforms, software and customized applications at a reduced cost. The impending success of cloud computing has drawn several bigwigs in the computing business including Microsoft, HP, Google and IBM. The projected market width for cloud computing is $42 billion in the next couple of years. However, the key to the success of cloud computing as the new paradigm for the computing industry is the evolution of security and performance – two primary hurdles that may be the difference between whether the big fish join the bandwagon or not! As these parameters evolve in the coming days, it is most pertinent for the end user to determine the software as a service (SaaS) he receives comes with the best of both these worlds.

Companies using cloud computing are not only locked into the provider’s resources in the long run, but migration to a different service provider becomes more and more difficult as dependence on a provider increases. Added concerns of data privacy and security, when shared with external vendors, are a huge hurdle for businesses where confidentiality is vital. Information security is a key concern for providers as well, because their resources are shared by various customers and susceptible to corruption and abuse.

It is in the interest of the customer as well as the provider that Security and Privacy concerns are allayed before a liaison is built. Ideal data protection results from an infrastructure that maintains proper segregation between data of diverse customers while enabling portability from one location to another – without hampering audit and privileges management significantly. Access and Control based on identity and levels/roles are also instrumental in improving security.

Several cloud computing companies are embracing SSO technologies as a solution to identity management and access control. Some of the data control measures is liable to make the data unavailable and offline occasionally – irregular service kills the rationale of cloud computing.

A best practice in security measures balances data availability and reliability in the right combine. Applications that are placed in production environments must also have been methodically tested against viral attacks and data leaks. Firewalls and database auditing measures must be adopted to ensure safe applications shared across the network. Sensitive data such as credit card numbers should be properly masked and encrypted to maintain privacy.

Data security also needs to be associated with capability to ensure data recovery and business continuity.

Government standards for the cloud:

  • Data protection (ISO 27001, ISO 27002, NIST 800-53, CoBIT, ValIT, RiskIT)
  • Technical Methods (OSSTMM, OWASP, PCI DSS)
  • OSS-Open Security Standards (XCCDF, OVAL, CCE, CWE, CPE, CVSS, SCAP, NIST, CIS Scoring)

Cloud computing performance depends on requirements and tradeoffs the customer business can endure. Client oriented computing comes with security advantages with a trade off on performance. Cloud oriented computing implementations perform significantly better while security remains a worry. In most cases it’s a hybrid solution that works best. While the implementation style has a major bearing on the security and performance aspects, there is no thumb rule on which style scores in terms of which aspect. Balancing security and performance is a subjective mission, which makes it important for both the customer and provider to ascertain the cloud system requirements minutely before implementation.

Cloud computing works for most business scenarios when implemented appropriately. Containers customizable according to client needs, with provisions for a flexible computing architecture, are being evolved to address the “each one his own” issue in the cloud computing world. Cloud computing is here to stay but its purported success depends on how well all stakeholders involved contribute towards making it more reliable and consistent.


Kasha Blake

Web Developer/ Server Admin: Focused on Mobile responsive design and Search engine optimization