Security Blog

Your source for information security news and views.

Those who fail to plan for Cloud should plan to fail

Posted by Patrick Snyder
Patrick Snyder
Patrick Snyder has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, 15 July 2011 in MyBlog


Although early cloud computing adopters boast of its cost savings, there seems to be a catch that many organizations are not prepared for. The cost savings in IT is no myth, your organization will save on its IT budget however this money saved may not be going directly into your pocket right from the start. This money must be reinvested and distributed among other company resources to ensure a safe transition to the cloud. These other resources include security and auditing. Without receiving corporate permission to increase these budgets and implement a new approach to measure cloud security, the transition can fail and the result will be reports showing a lack of funding and lack of security.

The unexpected “reinvestment clause” regarding a cloud transition has taken many federal organizations by surprise. Since the recent cloud-first mandate by United States Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, federal organizations have been urged to transition three services over to the cloud within the next year. Many have been transitioning their low hanging fruit and resources of minimal importance which has taken some weight off of the organizations but still does not offer the benefits that the mandate aims to succeed. Other organizations that have gone for broke have done exactly that, gone broke. Data has shown that 79% of federal organizations are complaining of a lack of funds. If only these organizations would have planned on reinvesting in auditing and risk management they would have been able to report financial gains instead of money woes.

“The policy and risk assessment work just hasn’t been done.” said Paul Sand, Vice President of IP3 Inc. A transition to the cloud takes planning, auditing, research, and careful budgeting. If you are smart about it, and take note of hidden factors, your organization has the potential to gain great success by joining the cloud movement. This methodology reminds me of an old proverb, “Those who fail to plan should plan to fail.”

While we are on the topic of cloud transition it is also important to note the consequences of a failure to budget properly.  On top of those with funding concerns,  71% of organizations reported having fears regarding cloud security. The mindset that the cloud should just be secure is only a fallacy. A secure cloud takes initiative and constant monitoring and measuring by all responsible parties. This includes doing your homework and researching proper security controls, configuring SLAs to ensure proper controls  are implemented by cloud service providers, and also auditing those controls. But without a budget these tasks may go unmarked on the security checklist.

The lack of funds has also caused some organizations to sacrifice their privacy and security for multi-tenant, shared, private cloud implementations. This leaves these organizations at risk of spillover and cross contamination with neighboring information. Granted the multi-tenant implementation saves money, it still does not change the fact that it sacrifices security. Since the information being stored and used is usually highly classified federal information, the last thing we would want to do is make a choice based on an inadequate budget that scarifies security.

A transition to the cloud is not something that will happen overnight. It will take planning, budgeting, risk assessment and plenty of audits along the way. Be sure you know what your organization is getting into before you decide to take off into the clouds.


Patrick Snyder has not set their biography yet


Please login first in order for you to submit comments