Availability Risks and Cloud Computing

Don’t get me wrong at all, I love Cloud computing and even invest in cloud computing companies but since cloud computing is becoming more popular than ever as more and more applications core to our businesses move into the cloud we need to consider some of our own risks. One thing I’m not sure if you or your business has thought of is availability on your own end (your internet connections). Availability is not just on the provider side which is normally fully redundant. Being that I am a CISSP, of course I know the clever Triad, but given that most of availability issues are still addressed by other parts of our organizations (network engineering, telecom etc). I know that I myself mostly focus on confidentiality and integrity related controls and not on availability. I don’t think I’m the only one in the security industry that is in this boat.

So, if we take a moment and step back from our little paper cluttered desks filled with pie charts and excel spreadsheets of PCI or SOX controls and take a look at availability, we should ask ourselves these questions: Would our company function if we lost our primary internet connection? How about if we lost our internet connections entirely? How about if a global routing event or some other attack on the Root DNS servers was successful? hmm…

My 2 cents is that companies are relying very heavily on a mixed bag of routing protocols and interconnected networks who don’t always have your company’s goals at heart. I’d love to see a lawyer try and say that the company internet connection going down should be reimbursed to the level of reliance that has been placed on those same connections. So please please please ensure you have fully redundant internet connections and think this issue through. Keep in mind that you may have two circuits coming out of your data center but they often could go physically through the same single fiber connection at the Telco (a single point of failure). You should also consider financial risks associated with the 2nd and 3rd Tier cloud providers. Providers such as Salesforce.com and Amazon are best suited to provide you financial stability and fault tolerance, but startups often lack the resources or money to really cover all these availability issues effectively so be cautious and have a backup plan in place to address any of the issues that could arise.

More questions to ask….If your internet went down:

1. Would your helpdesk software work?

2. Would your finance portal work?

3. Would your out-sourced marketing work?

4. Would your advertising continue?

5. Would your paycheck administration continue?

6. Would your recruiting efforts continue?

8. Would your customers be able to buy from you?

9. Would your banks be able to communicate to you?

10. Would you be able to get updates for your operating systems?

The list goes on and on…. Think about it at least a little.




Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail