Amazon EC2 Features Help the Cloud Get a Little Safer

Ralph DeFrangesco

The issues with cloud computing at this point include security, performance, costs, service and vendor viability. Security will be a leading concern for the foreseeable future, but for users who have adopted the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), the cloud has just gotten a little safer.


Most experts agree that the cloud is poised for considerable growth, but customers worry about how their data is stored. Who might have access to it, and can it be read while it is in transit? As is the case in most data transfer scenarios, encryption is one of the best answers. IT Business Edge blogger Carl Weinschenk writes that, "Data should be encrypted while it is in transit to and from the cloud." Sadly, encryption isn't in place as often as it should be.


Amazon has developed two significant features to ease security concerns, targeting the enterprise market, according to this Forbes article. The first helps to address protecting data to and from the cloud. The Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) allows organizations to establish a private cloud using an industry-accepted standard. Organizations set up a virtual environment using Amazon's infrastructure and then simply connect to it using a VPN.


The second feature allows organizations to use multi-factor authentication. EC2 cloud customers are being offered a USB device that generates a single-use code to connect to the cloud securely. The device combines something you know, like a password, with something you have, the USB device.


The cloud has its risks and there is a lot of debate as to whether the cloud is safe. However, Amazon is setting the bar high by adding features to make the cloud safer. The hope is that other vendors will follow. Do you think the cloud -- or a specific version of the cloud -- is safe enough to trust your data to it?

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