Security “of” the Cloud vs Security “in” the Cloud

There are plenty of good reasons to move to the cloud such as reducing hardware and software costs, recovering valuable office space used to store hardware, scaling compute and storage resources and only paying for what you use. These are just some of the advantages of leveraging the cloud. But the one thing you can't get away from is your responsibility for securing your data. You may use a cloud provider that is responsible for the compute and storage resources, as well as the physical access security, but whether you use virtual server instances, application instances, or containers, you cannot abdicate your role in ensuring that your apps and data have proper security settings.

“Security OF the Cloud” means the provider is responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs the services offered. This infrastructure is composed of the hardware, software, networking, and facilities that run Cloud services. The customer must secure access, ensure the data is protected and backed up. For example, customers that run databases instances (AWS RDS), are responsible for managing user access to the hosted database, as well as securing connections that leverage a VPN or SSL. Use the security features of your DB engine to control who can log into the database in the cloud, just as you do if the database was on your local network. A good idea is to also utilize encryption to secure database instances, data files and snapshots at rest.

According to Amazon (AWS), Security and Compliance is a shared responsibility between them and the customer. This shared model can help relieve customer’s operational burden as AWS operates, manages and controls the components from the host operating system and virtualization layer down to the physical security of the facilities in which the service operates. The customer assumes responsibility and management of the guest operating system (including updates and security patches), other associated application software, as well as the configuration of the AWS provided security group firewall. Customers should carefully consider the services they choose, as their responsibilities vary depending on the services used, the integration of those services into their IT environment, and applicable laws and industry specific compliance regulations. The nature of this shared responsibility provides customers with flexibility and control during deployment and operations.

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