In building a secure cloud environment, many believe a private cloud with data residing on dedicated hardware is the safest option. However, there have been many advances in that address the concerns. In particular, VMware with specific third-party solutions, has embedded a holistic approach to security and the network to better segregate and secure the virtual environment.
Virtualization does not mean the same thing to every provider, and "cloud" means different things to different people. Understanding the various models and tech strategies for creating a virtual environment will empower IT decision-makers to weed through the cloud partners to find those that will meet your unique organizational needs. For example, with leading-edge technology from VMware, it is possible to segregate virtual environments on the same hardware, creating a secure, virtual "private cloud" in a mutli-tenant environment. This does not fit the private cloud definition in a traditional sense, but still provides the utmost in security and dedicated resources, ensuring the uptime and availability of their data and applications.
4. Who are the people protecting the fortress?
Even if the brick-and-mortar facilities and elements of logical security are up to standards, it's important to know who will be handling the daily "care and feeding" of your data and applications. You should understand the hiring practices that your cloud partner has in place and what experience the staff has in terms of managing complex IT operations. If a provider's organization and staff has experience both as a consumer and vendor of cloud services, you can be further assured that they can share your perspective and understand what their offering should entail to serve your business needs.
Furthermore, a cloud provider should be able to tell you how often they are testing their staff, to both certify and re-certify the team to ensure best practices are maintained and a sufficient level of technological competence is achieved.
Your cloud partner should be seen as an extension of your IT operations, and you should be able to put a face to this team of skilled professionals protecting your data. Understand the process by which security matters are escalated, and a trustworthy cloud provider will ensure you that in the off chance the cloud were to go down or your data were to be compromised, one of your dedicated team members would have the experience and capability to manage the situation.