HP: Public cloud still not secure enough for business

Cloud security

The public cloud does not have the security yet to make it a viable option for businesses.

So claims Sukhbinder Gill, a senior fellow of HP, who spoke of his concerns around the model during an event held today at the Science Museum in London.

"Regardless of which report you read, from a Gartner analyst through to computing magazines, the number one reason that there is not a large scale adoption of cloud is because of security," he claimed.

Gill acknowledge that there are people and businesses out there already walking down the path of public cloud but believed they may not know what they are letting themselves in for.

"It is a different kind of enterprise [but] you don't know what you are being delivered," he said.

"Have you ever seen a Google blueprint of what their data centre looks like? It's not really available. What [about what] Amazon are delivering? It's behind the scenes. So when you try and lift your application and move it across to here, guess what? It might not work."

Gill claimed the model of computing was a viable one for some companies and certain applications in the future but said there needed to be more standards set in place when it came to security, like he believed there to be in the private cloud model.

He claimed a lot of effort was being made by standards committees to address the problem but added: "There is a lot of push back [from the providers]."

"People are feeling we are trying to put standards around something that is still in the creative mode and really needs to surge ahead but I think that if we are adopting these services then at least from a security perspective we need to have the standards in place."

He listed in detail the risks he saw, such as the fact public clouds are a multi tenant environment, meaning you cannot "get proof" that your data is held in isolation from other companies' data, and also that obligations a company may have when it comes to compliance are made increasingly difficult if you don't know where your data is stored.

Comparing it to how Facebook is now coming out and announcing it will be using other people's data and passing it to third parties, Gill also added: "What assurance do you have that nobody is going to use that data other than you?"

"We are taking this very seriously as we do believe the paradigm shift to using the internet and using the infrastructure that is available in the cloud for new things, for everything as a service, is something we holistically want to support," Gill concluded, "but we want to do it in steps that make sense to businesses."

Undecided about which model is best for business? Read our feature on the public versus private cloud debate.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.