As we have discussed before much of the way we define and implement security is driven by compliance. But despite a wide number of frameworks from COBIT to PCI those compliance standards aren’t very clear, leaving ample room for every auditor to interpret them differently.
That may be one of the reasons behind the surprising results in the recent report by the Ponemon Institute on the Security of Cloud Computing Providers that “ the majority of cloud computing providers do not consider security as one of their most important responsibilities”.
When you dive deeper into the 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? More on that next week.