Transparency, not security, is biggest cloud challenge, says Verizon

Transparency is the biggest challenge to moving to cloud computing, not security, according to Verizon

Transparency is the biggest challenge in moving to cloud computing, not security, according to Gavan Egan, vice-president of sales at Verizon Terremark Europe.

“Most big organisations do not see security as a challenge because serious cloud providers understand security and security infrastructure,” he told Computer Weekly.

Verizon, which has a long-established security tradition, encrypts all data in its cloud environment and ensures that none of its employees have access to the data. All staff are also screened.

Egan, who formerly headed Verizon’s security services business in Europe, sees transparency as a far bigger issue for organisations making the transition to cloud.

“IT departments not only have to ensure that cloud deployments comply with external and internal regulations, but they need to be able to prove that compliance to auditors and regulators,” he said.

As part of Verizon’s strategy to grow its cloud business, the company is geared to help customers with potential hurdles, such as data classification, risk management and regulatory compliance.

For European organisations, Verizon is able to guarantee that data will not leave its datacentres within the EU, located in the Netherlands and the UK.

Security may be second to transparency, but Egan allows that it is still a key consideration for companies moving to cloud in pursuit of greater IT agility and flexibility for rapid response to business challenges.

For most organisations, the move to cloud provides the opportunity of increased security as cloud providers typically invest more in security and have greater staff and intelligence resources, he said.

“Verizon, for example, can draw threat intelligence from our annual data breach report and our ability to monitor threats as 70% of all internet exchanges cross our IP backbone infrastructure,” said Egan.

While most companies are adopting a step-by-step approach to cloud starting with non-critical elements, some that have already moved all applications and infrastructure to the cloud.

“Cloud does not necessarily meet all requirements, so organisations need to look at what areas of the business cloud can improve, and begin with those,” said Egan.

Most cloud providers are serious about what they are doing and encourage high standards in the industry, he said.

Image: Thinkstock

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There are actually two fears about cloud computing that deal with security – data security and job security. Organizations might get comfortable with data security but their IT side of the house doesn’t feel comfortable with job security. The cloud was supposed to be this evil thing that was going to eliminate jobs for local IT departments, but truth of the matter is that job elimination hasn’t actually happened. IT managers and professionals are working with increasingly restrained resources under impossible deadlines, but that has always been the case.

This is another interesting article that discusses Cloud security in detail.


Transparency from service providers will help business customers gain visibility into the infrastructure underneath their cloud workloads. However, that transparency will do little to provide assurance that those business-driven cloud workloads are functioning properly, configured properly, are governed by policy, can be maintained, can be monitored, are compliant with internal & external regulations, can be portable to other service providers, and do most, if not all, of that via efficient automation. In other words, businesses need the capability to take ownership & responsibility for their users' self-service usage of cloud applications, platforms, and services.

Cloud management platforms provide these capabilities across hybrid clouds, and empower businesses to embrace the benefits of the cloud. For more:

- Bankim Tejani • Senior Security Architect