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Cloud computing roles and responsibilities

‘Cloud computing’ is making use of the resources such as servers, storage, networking and software over the Internet.  Since cloud computing offers the pay-as-you-go model for enterprise applications, it is a much more sought after business model for enterprise applications. The cloud computing model is much more feasible and affordable than investing in resources on the local machine.

Some more advantages of cloud computing include improved productivity, speed and performance, the ability to scale up the resources as and when required and a better security posture.

We have listed the various cloud computing roles and responsibilities below who are involved in the various cloud service arrangements:

  1. Cloud service provider
  2. Cloud customer
  3. Cloud broker
  4. Cloud Access Security Broker
  5. Regulators
  • Cloud Service provider:
    • “Cloud service provider” is probably one of the most visible concepts when related to “cloud computing”. In all possibilities we would all have encountered this word, without actually knowing its meaning and significance.
    • A “cloud service provider” or CSP is an organization which hosts all the services such as networking, software, servers, infrastructure and more. In addition they also employ and manage the staff, and provide security for the services they provide. This relieves the client organizations of their individual responsibility of setting their infrastructure and managing them. Some of the popular examples of cloud service providers are ‘Amazon Web services’, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, Google Cloud platform and more.
  • Cloud customer:
    • The “cloud customer” is the organization that is seeking some or more cloud services from the cloud service provider.
  • Cloud broker:
    • As more and more organization migrate their necessities to the cloud, “cloud computing” itself becomes more complicated and gradually undergoes many changes. It then becomes a cumbersome task for any customer to choose an appropriate cloud service provider. This is where a “cloud broker” comes into play.
    • A “cloud broker” is an organization that mediates between the “cloud service provider” and “cloud customer”. The “Cloud broker” enables the customer organization to choose the correct vendor according to their business needs. They also help the customer to negotiate the terms and conditions, pricing and other details with the cloud service provider.
  • Cloud access security broker:
    • As cloud adoptions increase in number, security becomes more than a necessity. ‘Cloud access security brokers’ or CASBs is the answer to improved security for cloud services.
    • CASBs are organizations that are present on-premise or on the cloud and act as the intermediary between cloud service providers and cloud customers. According to McAfee website, “CASBs enforce security, compliance and governance for cloud applications”.
    • CASBs are relatively a new concept which began in 2011 and was initially touted to only improve security for shadow IT services but has evolved into other services as well (like encrypting and tokenizing sensitive data which is to be uploaded, preventing misuse of cloud data from insiders and outsiders) As CASBs become more ubiquitous in the enterprise security stack, Gartner predicts that CASBs will govern over 60% of cloud services by the year 2022.
  • Regulators:
    • Regulators such as the ‘Federal Trade Commission’ (FTC) and ‘Securities and Exchange Commission’ (SEC) ensure that companies stay in compliance with regulatory frameworks such as HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act), SOX (Sarbenes- Oxley Act) and GLBA (Gramm Leach Bliley Act) and other frameworks.

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Jayanthi Manikandan ( )
Cyber Security Analyst
Jayanthi Manikandan has a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information Assurance from Walsh college, Detroit, MI. She is passionate about Information security and has been writing about it for the past 6 years. She is currently ‘Security researcher at InfoSec train.
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