US federal agencies still not convinced about cloud security

Top suppliers of cloud-based services met government officials last week to discuss the benefits of the cloud computing model.

But 22 out of 24 major federal agencies are either concerned or very concerned about the potential security risks of cloud computing, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) said in its latest report.

The GAO report concludes that cloud computing can both increase and decrease the security of information systems in federal agencies, according to reports.

At the meeting between suppliers and government officials, Mike Bradshaw, director of Google’s federal government group, said cloud computing can improve security.

“The cloud enhances security by enabling data to be stored centrally with continuous and automated network analysis and protection”, he said.

Microsoft security representatives have made similar claims, but in the meeting with government officials, Scott Charney, president of Microsoft’s trustworthy computing group, said there are risks.

Cloud computing presents new security, privacy and reliability challenges, he said.

Security is a shared responsibility that cloud providers and government clients need to address, through the communication of requirements and transparency about the utility of controls put in place to meet those requirements, said Charney.

This story was first published by Computer Weekly

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