Securing the cloud for enterprise adoption

Enterprises need comfort in the cloud. Thus, logging and system management tools must become part of the ecosystem.

In a May 2008 report, Merrill Lynch predicted that by 2012, the annual global market for cloud computing will surge to $95 billion. In order to get to what seems an impossibly big number we need to look at what will prevent adoption.

One obvious answer comes to mind: security.

According to Jian Zhen, senior director of open platforms at LogLogic, cloud computing is currently like the "Wild West" for enterprises. He says cloud providers may not have all the information they need about threats and aren't likely to enforce widespread security until a major breach occurs.

Zhen emphasized that improving cloud security isn't too far off. For example, companies and managed service providers already use log management products to capture logs for a variety of business operations and forensics purposes. Why not turn on log management in the cloud?

When it comes to cloud computing, Zhen said, enterprises need transparency: the ability to view log reports showing who has accessed what data in the cloud, and when.

For example, logs can track where sensitive data is stored in the cloud, and when data has been copied or transported. If a VM with sensitive data is moved to another server, logs document the switch. Zhen says logging every event or interaction in the cloud enables enterprises to track, trace, and measure each heartbeat, while also making cloud providers more accountable.

Somewhere down the line you need to be able to aggregate the usage and parse the data for all it to make sense. If you consider that is doing millions of transactions a day, there will be some serious effort required.

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