Cloud security is personal - experts

2013-05-02 14:10
Willem Malan (left) and Dave Maskell of BUI advise that users take care when selecting internet cloud providers. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Willem Malan (left) and Dave Maskell of BUI advise that users take care when selecting internet cloud providers. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Internet cloud security

2013-05-02 12:55

Willem Malan (left) and Dave Maskell of BUI advise that users take care when selecting internet cloud providers in this YouTube video.WATCH

Durban - The security analysis of cloud providers is largely up to individual users who have to ensure the fidelity of the service, experts have warned.

"A lot of regulatory stuff is advertised on most of these cloud providers, but the fact that it says it on the box, doesn't mean it's what's in the box," Dave Maskell, security consultant at BUI told News24.

BUI is a cloud security and management company and has Microsoft Security Solutions as a major focus. As cloud solutions become more pervasive for home and business users, technologies have to keep abreast of security trends.

"There certainly is sufficient technology to make it [the internet cloud] secure at every layer; the cloud is not a single cloud - it is a collection of services - everything from hardware, the network, he partitioning of the services within that - and at every layer there are plentiful security technologies," said Willem Malan, technical director for BUI.

He said that regulation would play a role in ensuring that providers live up to the promises that they make as far as security was concerned.

Security breaches

"One part is regulatory driven, forcing providers that they, to right level, disclose what's happening: Their security and disclose any attacks and breaches that may have happened," Malan said in reference to the security breaches that have hit companies like Sony and MasterCard, among others.

The brand does not guarantee the security of a cloud solution, and as more users put personal and important information in the internet cloud, the reliability of the provider is a key issue, Malan said.

"It's easy to say 'I trust a brand' but does that brand really provide security that we expect?"

Maskell explained that a user's approach to security had to be similar to the way individual users attempt to avoid e-mail scams that seek to steal personal or financial information.

"To someone who knows a little about computers, it's obvious that those e-mails are not coming from a trusted source, but they still happen because people still follow on to a fake website or whatever it is and donate their information, essentially," he said, saying that education on solutions was critical, especially in the corporate environment.

"It's absolutely 'buyer beware'; that's the reality. The best a home user can do is keep themselves safe. It doesn't sound ideal because it feels a little bit like Wild Wild West but we have not made the adjustment that process regulatory environment and social norms have caught up with the speed and which technology has led us," Malan added.


Many people use internet cloud-type services such as web-based e-mail, internet banking and sharing content via social networks, and Malan said that this was only the beginning.

"Society has not caught up with the speed at which technology is beamed at. It will get there, because right now, cloud feels as if it is over-hyped, but that's just the short end of the adoption curve.

"The next 10 years will be driven by this absolute wave of cloud technology - we'll call it something different - but the adoption curve has not reached full maturity."

Both Maskell and Malan said that user education was key to understanding the benefits and risks of internet cloud services.

"It's very simple: Educate yourself; understand the options because there are options available. Understand your risks, and based on that, plan," said Malan.

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