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Encryption in the cloud Data security in cloud computing cloud security best practices Cloud Security Cloud Encryption  Cloud data overseas Does Data Need to Go Overseas?Is data security in cloud computing possible in 2014?

Recent reports on NSA spying have eroded trust in US-based cloud providers.  This is especially true for non-USA-based customers that use cloud services offered by US companies.  They see using an American cloud provider as a risk because they assume their data could be accessed by the NSA and other government organizations. This perception has caused companies such as Google, AT&T and Cisco to lose non-US business.


The Snowden leaks spotlighted the risk. The information that was leaked revealed that some of the biggest cloud providers had their users’ data accessed by the NSA, including Google and Yahoo. In some cases, this happened with the companies’ knowledge and in others, without. 


The real world results have been that about 10% of companies have canceled contracts with US cloud providers since these revelations came to light, according to the Cloud Security Alliance.

Location and its effect on data security in cloud computing

The question of moving data overseas is not new, though it has been spotlighted by the NSA scandal. Regulations in countries such as those of the European Union often require that sensitive data remain “local.” US-based cloud providers have taken note of their customers’ concerns and are offering some solutions.

Amazon Web Services has been offering non-US cloud “regions” for several years. In January, Microsoft also suggested that non-US customers be able to store their data in non-US centers.

Of course, some non-US cloud providers see this as a competitive opportunity, hoping to lure in some new business.

The U.S. is not alone in data access and spying by government institutions; Britain, France, and Spain have all had similar spying cases and have shared data with the NSA. China and Russia have their own extensive organizations – far away from the eyes of the Western media.

Building trust and the role of encryption in the cloud

Some of the trust-building measures have to be from the side of lawmakers and regulators. Some have to come from cloud providers. The providers need to offer strong security everywhere: on the server, data, backups, data in transit, data at rest, internal, external, and everywhere in between.

At the end of the day, customers always have a share of the responsibility for securing their own data. In fact, sensible customers welcome the responsibility to take control. The question is how.

In the cloud, keeping ownership of your data requires the use of encryption. This has become the recognized best practice. Encrypting data and keeping the encryption keys to yourself ensures your ownership of your data even if you have “outsourced” computing to the cloud.

The key point is to keep the encryption keys to yourself. One of the best ways to do that is to use strong split-key encryption for the data.  This is a technique where you encrypt data with keys that are split into several “shares,” one of which you keep to yourself.

Another technique is Homomorphic key management. This actually encrypts your encryption keys – even when they are being used in the cloud.

This level of protection can provide a high-level of confidence when securing data in the cloud, public or private, in the US or overseas.


The post Does Data Need to Go Overseas? appeared first on Porticor Cloud Security.

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More Stories By Gilad Parann-Nissany

Gilad Parann-Nissany, Founder and CEO at Porticor is a pioneer of Cloud Computing. He has built SaaS Clouds for medium and small enterprises at SAP (CTO Small Business); contributing to several SAP products and reaching more than 8 million users. Recently he has created a consumer Cloud at - a cloud operating system that delighted hundreds of thousands of users while providing browser-based and mobile access to data, people and a variety of cloud-based applications. He is now CEO of Porticor, a leader in Virtual Privacy and Cloud Security.