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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Who Is In Charge Of Your Cloud Security?

Post by Peter McCalister February 20, 2012

Usually, the way we define and implement security is driven by compliance. But despite a wide number of frameworks from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association‘s (ISACA) Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), those compliance standards aren’t very clear, leaving ample room for every auditor to interpret them differently.

When you dive deeper into the Ponemon study data, it shows that “cloud providers are most confident about their ability to ensure recovery from significant IT failures and ensure the physical location of data assets are in secure environments.” These are two areas where best practices and the compliance standards are well-defined.

On the other hand, cloud providers are “least confident in their ability to restrict privileged user access to sensitive data.” At least part of that lack of confidence can surely be attributed to the lack of a clear definition of privileged access and what the appropriate controls are.

Since many of the privileged users of a cloud system are the customer’s employees, it makes sense that this has got to be an area of shared responsibility between the cloud vendor and the customer. But who should do what and, ultimately, who’s in charge?

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