How Secure Are Private Clouds?

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The private cloud, also known as the internal cloud or corporate cloud, is a proprietary computing architecture that is hosted internally or externally and is used and operated by a single entity. The private cloud can be managed by the employees of an organization or by a third party. The services are generally secured by a firewall.

The private cloud has gained significance with advances in virtualization and distributed computing. While private clouds are more dangerous than private data centers, the security systems that must be put in place must be more virtualization aware. Consequently, corporate networks and data center administrators or third party cloud service providers have reinvented themselves in the Internet- connected world and are working toward meeting the needs of their “customers,” i.e., their employees, using available converging or open-source technologies.

Most often than not, the reasons for using private instead of public clouds are security, management, and the control of information. The hardware is owned and managed by the service provider, but data management is left to the customer. Virtualization technologies are used to layer the software with management tools and user tools, which provide the necessary controls to the various entities that access the private cloud. Each tool, then integrates into the overall system to create a controlled mesh of services that implement the security policies of the enterprise.

Data monitoring and security is at the core of the private cloud. Data monitoring begins right at the source. The data slotted for backup to the remote server is immediately queued for encryption before it is transmitted to the remote server. Private cloud users can create their own keys by inputting custom strings into a graphical user interface provided for the purpose. The input string is picked up by the cryptographic algorithm and used to encrypt the data that is passed from the source to the proprietary cryptographic module. Decryption is automatically authorized for personnel who have the rights and permissions to access the information over the Internet.

Managed Private Clouds are modularized services that do not compromise on security. Each module is connected to every other module to form the greater whole. Additional hard drives can be snapped into the server to contribute a pre-defined quantity of resources on the terms and conditions that were specified in the service-level agreement (SLA). All this can be achieved by just navigating to the service provider’s website and ordering the resource.

Remember that a private cloud is as secure as we make it, working in tandem. The quality of cloud service providers differs widely, and you will need to work with a provider who has a good reputation and who takes its business seriously. Pick a provider who works towards establishing a trusting relationship that helps both you and the provider. Ask if this provider is capable of understanding the needs of your organization and how the vendor will strengthen the security of the private cloud and deliver value on the SLA? If you are ready to jump in to the cloud, sign up for a trial and test all of the features that are important to you before you sign on the dotted line for a contract.