With the recent outage of the Amazon EC2 network and the data breach of the Sony PlayStation Network, many experts and customers are wondering if security is a larger issue in cloud computing than any other type of hosting. The answer is no, cloud services are not riskier than typical applications found in a corporate data center.
The Two Recent Problems
Amazon EC2 or Elastic Compute Cloud services were affected on April 21st, 2011 by an outage that shut resulted in major websites being unavailable for three days. To this day, the cause of the outage is not known. Two days prior, Sony shut down two of its cloud servers due to an external intrusion in which the hacker or hackers obtained the personal information of over 77 million subscribers.
These two problems are proving to be significant. However, they are unusual in the cloud computing world. The outage of Amazon’s servers moved the focus to reliability and availability issues. However, these concerns also existed in the traditional web hosting environments of old. Therefore, it appears as if naysayers to the new cloud technology are simply trying to blame old problems on web hosting progress.
These outages, whatever the cause, used to occur on a regular basis. Most individuals were unaware due to it affect one or even a handful of organizations, completely on a small scale. These more frequent outages equated to much more lost time, money and business.
A Lack of Preparation
The biggest result of the Amazon EC2 outage were the weaknesses shown by Amazon not have redundant backup servers in another location or the lack of a failover system utilizing another cloud computing supplier. This major mistake could result in large businesses dropping Amazon for a more reliable carrier.
New Users to Cloud Computing
For many organizations that recently made the move to cloud computing, these types of outages so close in occurrence could be nerve-wreaking. The technology is new and not all the kinks have been ironed out, therefore they are worried about massive data loss and security exploits. Luckily most security applications in the cloud include, spam filtering, hosted email, malware scanning and firewalls. Therefore, if any of these applications went down, it would not be the end of the business.
Cloud computing has proven to be the most reliable and best-performing type of web hosting available. Despite these security breaches and outages, cloud hosting will continue to improve and be utilized by most organizations.