Moving to the cloud has become a key strategy for organizations as it enables accessing software-as-a-service over the Internet. It’s also a safe way to store and share data. Business productivity ramps up as employees access data from any location for completing crucial business tasks. However, when it comes to storing data on the cloud, security is one crucial aspect that can’t be compromised at any cost.
Cloud security consists of a defined set of policies, procedures, technologies, and control that work toward protecting the data, systems, and cloud infrastructure. Cloud computing is typically divided into three different categories: IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service), PaaS (platform-as-a-service), and SaaS (software-as-a-service). Any of these services can be used as per the requirements of the business.
Cloud computing infrastructures are highly secured and capable of protecting data from potential risks such as theft, unauthorized access, or hacks. Cloud security measures are constituted to protect data as well as protect the customer’s privacy. From access authentication to filtering traffic, security parameters in cloud infrastructure can be configured to specific business operations. The security of your cloud infrastructure solely depends upon the security solutions and algorithms in place as well as the security measures implemented by the provider.
Why is cloud security important?
Robust cloud security is essential for businesses switching to the cloud. Data security threats have been troubling organizations for decades, and they have become even more sophisticated irrespective of the cloud or on-premises environment. This calls for the need to hire a reliable and trustworthy cloud service provider to ensure best-in-class security.
Security is considered a big issue as the business-critical and user-specific data is stored at a location that is not controlled by a single entity — even the location of data is unknown. The data at rest as well as the data in transit is at risk if it can be accessed or modified by unauthorized parties. Cloud data is considered secure if it accomplishes several conditions such as confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
To prevent data from unauthorized access, it is important to implement data security practices such as converting it to such a format that is unreadable to the unauthorized person.
Encrypt data for extended security
Cryptography, a technique to convert data into an inaccessible and unreadable format while storing or transmitting it to a certain location, can be used to combat security risks. The ciphered data will be unusable to any intruders. When the data is received by the authorized recipient, it will appear in the form of plain text, which is accessible. Encryption algorithms can be used to convert plain text format to ciphered form. In return, decryption algorithms help to convert ciphered or encrypted data to plain text format. Three different types of cryptography algorithms commonly used are hashing, symmetric algorithm, and asymmetric algorithm.
Some popular algorithms used to secure data in cloud infrastructure are listed below:
Data Encryption Standard (DES)
DES is the first encryption algorithm standard recommended by the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). Data Encryption Standard is 64-bit key size with 64-bit block size; however, it does not provide advanced security against data security threats and concerns.
Advanced Encryption Algorithm (AES)
AES is a new data encryption algorithm recommended by NIST to replace DES. Both DES and AES standards are block ciphers with a variable key length of 128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits. This encryption standard is fast, flexible, and can be implemented to protect data, preferably on small screens such as smartphones and tablets.
Triple DES (TDES)
This encryption standard uses the same algorithms used in DES. With the intent to increase the data encryption levels, the security algorithms are implemented thrice; the encryption method to cipher the text is similar to DES, though. This method ensures improved data security in comparison to the DES algorithm.
These are some of the key algorithms used to cipher the plain text in the cloud environment. Several other encryption algorithms such as blowfish algorithm, IDEA (International Data Encryption Algorithm), homomorphic encryption, Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA), and Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange are used worldwide for enhancing cloud security.
Data privacy is a crucial concern as more organizations consider saving business-critical data on the cloud. Users have no idea about the location of data, transmission path, transfer time, or cloud operations. Several questions help you understand the cloud security concept in a better way.
- How does file backup take place in the cloud?
- Is there any physical entity responsible for cloud security?
- Where do deleted files go?
- What type of users have access to your data?
- How and where does encryption and decryption occur?
- Is it possible to search for data in ciphered form?
- What potential threats exist in the cloud?
Security algorithms make the cloud secure
The key security concern for data stored in the cloud is the privacy and integrity of incorporated information. Many organizations still prefer storing data locally rather than storing it to a cloud drive. To encourage businesses about the benefits of using cloud storage, it is important to make them aware of the potential benefits and security mechanisms implemented by service providers.
Another aspect related to the privacy of data is confidentiality. Due to virtualization and multitenancy attributes, many users are sharing hardware and software resources over the distributed network. Encryption remains the foolproof and only solution to ensure confidentiality of data. As per business requirements, organizations can use symmetric or asymmetric data encryption algorithms.
Cloud computing has emerged as a next-generation technology with numerous advantages. However, there is still room for improvement as security remains the major issue. When it comes to encryption standards, AES and DES are widely used algorithms for ensuring data integrity. But the homomorphic algorithm provides the best security for cloud data. It is highly capable of applying operations on encrypted data to enable high security.
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