Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Security still top concern with cloud, despite Amazon outage

Jaikumar Vijayan, Computerworld | April 28, 2011
Despite the heightened focus on cloud availability and uptime caused by Amazon's prolonged service outage last week, security will likely remain the bigger long-term concern for enterprises, analysts say.

Despite the heightened focus on cloud availability and uptime caused by Amazon's prolonged service outage last week, security will likely remain the bigger long-term concern for enterprises, analysts say.

Amazon last week blamed undisclosed server problems for a partial service outage that either crippled or knocked offline, hundreds of sites, including several major ones. The problems began last Thursday and dragged on for more than two days, causing considerable frustration for some customers of Amazon's cloud services.

Though the company appears to have fixed most problems, it was still working on addressing a few unresolved ones as of Monday morning.

The incident has focused considerable attention on cloud availability issues, with some analysts predicting that companies that were hesitant about moving to the cloud in the first place will be even more reluctant to make the jump now.

"Obviously these issues are very heightened right now and will continue to be so for quite a while, in light of the outage," said Kyle Hilgendorf, a cloud computing analyst at Gartner.

"Amazon portrays an aura of invincibility, whether intentional or not, and this outage is going to remind enterprise customers that nobody is perfect and increased due diligence is required," he said.

Enterprises should be concerned about performance in the cloud, but not any more so than they should be concerned about reliability and performance in other data center or traditional hosting environments, Hilgendorf said.

Security is really the more pressing concern, he added. "I still consider it to be the bigger, long-term concern," Hilgendorf said. "Enterprises I speak to are more concerned about security than they are about availability, reliability or performance."

In most cases, cloud security concerns are related to issues such as the accidental release of protected data, user authentication and access control, and the level of access that that a cloud provider might have to an enterprise's systems and data.

Such issues have consistently ranked as the top concerns for companies looking to move to hosted cloud environments.

Don't expect that to change anytime soon, said Jonathan Penn, an analyst at Forrester Research. Last week's Amazon outage is sure to stoke enterprise anxiety about cloud performance and uptime, but security is still going to be the bigger worry for most enterprises, he said.

Companies that are looking to move applications to a hosted cloud environment are going to want even more availability assurances from their vendors now, Penn said.

Ultimately though, enterprises need to realize that there can never be 100% uptime in a cloud environment, just as there can never been continuous availability within an enterprise data center, he said.

 

1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.