SC Magazine reports that (1) cloud computing environments may not be very secure and (2) a VPN can improve the security of cloud computing environments.

Countering cloud computing threats via SC Magazine

Technology such as two-factor authentication systems, when married to encrypted VPN connections, can secure an internet connection into a cloud computing-based service.

That's the verdict from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), which concludes that using such techniques would tend to make interception of files and transmissions almost impossible.

Sarb Sembhi, president of the ISACA London Chapter, said, "While there is no such thing as a totally secure system, especially a system that is accessible across the internet, our belief is that, with the right technology, the new generation of cloud computing system can be made as secure -- if not more secure -- than existing server-based office systems."

ORLY? I think I've read something like that before...

Seriously (and with much less sarcasm) this is a good discussion and it's good to see others raising awareness of security when it comes to cloud computing, especially in the context of enterprise's potentially running business applications in the cloud.

I notice that the author doesn't qualify whether that VPN should be IPSEC or SSL, but given the complexity of PKI and the ability to roam-about more easily with an SSL VPN (not to mention the cost savings and ability to better control the endpoint you get with an SSL VPN) I'm thinking SSL is a better way to go. 

Not only is a SSL VPN for secure remote access much simpler and provides better control over application access, but it's accessible from just about any end-user device and it can be deployed without requiring software or hardware at the remote end. That means cloud computing providers could augment their offerings with an additional layer of security without investing (and managing) a heavy IPSEC infrastructure in two (or more) places.


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