Cloud Hosting is getting more and more popular because of the advantages it brings to the table. It is proven to be highly scalable at reduced costs. However, an important downside that you need to consider about Cloud Hosting is security. If you and your cloud hosting provider take up all the best practices, security threats will be minimum, but this post should help you understand certain inherent circumstances that come with the Cloud Hosting environment that could lead to security threats and breaches that you may not be aware of. Awareness of these aspects will help you discuss with your hosting provider and have contingency plans in place.
First thing you need to understand is, erasing your data on the cloud doesn’t erase the data on physical servers. Since all storage and virtual machines are hosted on the same physical storage, one user may utilize a chunk of virtual drive for their project. Once that project is over, they may delete it from the cloud environment and the space will be freed up for another user that accesses the same resource pool. If the second user runs a recovery on the same storage space, it is possible to recover the previous user’s data. This is because typically when you delete data from the cloud, you are only removing the pointers to the data. Which means that in such situations you need to get in touch with your Cloud Hosting provider and verify the data is erased from virtual layer and physical drives at end-of-life.
If you reverse what we spoke of above, it also stands as a security threat. Which means erasing devices doesn’t mean you don’t need to erase the cloud. Case in point here is the 2014 Celebrity iCloud account hack. It was a rude wake up call to the world regarding security threats in cloud environments when nude photos of actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton were leaked. At end-of-life be sure to securely erase the data from both your own devices as well as requesting the secure erasure of your data from your cloud provider, with a report as proof.
Another aspect you need to understand is regarding the shared technology vulnerabilities. Cloud Hosting providers deliver their services scalably by sharing infrastructure, platforms or applications. Underlying components that comprise the infrastructure supporting cloud services deployment may not be designed to provide strong isolation properties or multi-customer applications. This can lead to shared technology vulnerabilities.
Final security aspect that you need to understand is that even on the cloud, you stand a chance to face data loss due to physical disasters. Of course one of the top selling points that your Cloud Hosting provider will use is data reliability in situations of physical issues, as failure of 1 node seamlessly replaces its effectiveness with another one from the cloud. But that is not entirely true. In the end the cloud is also hosted on a physical data centre. This was seen when Google permanently lost a part of its data due to a lightning strike in 2015. Securing your data means carefully reviewing your Cloud Hosting provider’s back up procedures as they relate to physical storage locations, physical access, and physical disasters.
There you have it, there are certain aspects about cloud hosting security that are more often than not kept obscure and you need to have a comprehensive and exhaustive discussion with the Cloud Hosting Providers to understand how they operate in these situations and how well prepared they are to tackle security threats on their cloud. Keep in mind, it will always be a two way street where you and your Cloud Hosting provider needs to be aligned to make the system as secure as possible because your mission critical data depends on it. Hope this helps and we would love to see your thoughts on this so please go ahead and share them in the comments section below!