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Topic: Cloud computing episodes ...  (Read 16391 times)
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« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2011, 05:32:51 »
AplusWebMaster Offline
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FYI...

Amazon cloud 'pre-configured images' risk...
- http://h-online.com/-1376578
10 November 2011 - "Amazon cloud customers have access to more than 8,000 pre-configured Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) worldwide... many of these AMIs contain a variety of security holes... more than half of the images that are available worldwide and identified the same vulnerabilities, as well as additional problems. The Windows AMIs, which represented a small proportion of the 5,300 images that were examined, were particularly badly affected. Security issues were found in 246 out of 253 Windows appliances. A bug that allows arbitrary code to be executed when a certain web site is accessed in Internet Explorer was especially common... researchers found authentication data in about one-fifth of the examined AMIs and were able to reconstruct deleted files in 98 per cent of images. Amazon has informed its customers of these problems and has released guidelines* on how to avoid AMI security issues. A tutorial** is provided to help developers create secure AMIs."
* http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/index.html?AESDG-chapter-sharingamis.html

** http://aws.amazon.com/articles/0155828273219400

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« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2011, 13:54:47 »
AplusWebMaster Offline
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FYI...

Legal Issues in the Cloud
- http://www.wwpi.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13911:exploring-legal-issues-in-the-cloud&catid=317:ctr-exclusives&Itemid=2701734
14 November 2011 - "... Because cloud providers store large volumes of data from various parties, they present an attractive target for hackers. Google, Amazon and Salesforce.com have all reported major data breaches, and a survey this summer found that nearly half of IT executives reported a security lapse or security issue with their cloud services provider within the last 12 months. A cloud customer could be liable for security breaches by the cloud provider it uses...
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) applies to publicly traded companies and contains requirements related to, among other things, email retention, data security and integrity, as well as oversight requirements which encompass cloud providers.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Actregulate the use and protection of health information. Companies in the healthcare field may need to have their cloud service providers sign a Business Associate agreement. HIPAA also requires that individuals have access to their health information, so cloud vendors may need to adjust their policies and procedures to allow for such access.
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) governs the collection, disclosure and protection by financial institutions of consumers’ nonpublic personal information.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of industry standards providing requirements for security and storage of credit card information; in June, it was clarified that the PCI DSS apply to cloud providers.
- State laws. Almost all states have laws covering notification in the case of a data breach. Also, some states, such as Massachusetts and Nevada, have enacted laws providing requirements for data security..."

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« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2011, 06:07:10 »
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FYI...

Cloud network abused by trojan...
- http://www.securelist.com/en/blog/620/Money_from_the_cloud
November 17, 2011 - "... we discovered a malicious program called Trojan-Downloader.Win32.MQL5Miner.a which also uses the resources of infected computers, but this time to make money in MQL5 Cloud Network, a distributed computing network... MetaQuotes is a developer of software for financial markets. Several weeks ago, information appeared on the net that the company was offering to pay users to participate in distributed computing. Apparently, this is what attracted malicious users to the new cloud service... There are grounds to believe that the malicious program spreads via email. Having infected a computer, the malicious program first determines if the operating system is 32-bit or 64-bit. It then downloads the appropriate version of the official software from MetaQuotes SoftWare. MQL5Miner then launches the service to participate in the cloud computing network. But the cybercriminals specify their own account data and receive the payments for any distributed computing operations that are performed on an infected machine... When it comes to making money, cybercriminals don’t miss a trick. That includes exploiting the resources of infected computers without their owners’ knowledge or consent. We have notified MetaQuotes about the account being used by cybercriminals."

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« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2011, 19:09:04 »
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FYI...

Cybercriminal attack strategy shifting to corporate networks
- http://www.crn.com/232300457/printablearticle.htm
Dec. 13, 2011 - "... Cisco... made predictions* on the weapons cyber-criminals are most likely to use in 2012, based on the return on investment from cyber-crimes. The weaponry expected to reap the most money included data theft Trojans, spyware, click fraud and web exploits. Targets expected to get lots of attention from criminals based on the potential ROI include mobile devices and cloud infrastructure. Clouds service providers have been growing so fast that they have not had the time or inclination to make security a top priority... three in five of the respondents working for companies believed their employers, not themselves, were responsible for protecting information and devices. In addition, more than half allowed others to use their computers without supervision, including family, friends, coworkers and strangers."
* http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/vpndevc/security_annual_report_2011.pdf
13 Dec 2011 - 5.3MB PDF file

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« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2011, 05:59:52 »
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FYI...

Migration plans to Cloud apps dropped...
- https://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9222932/Plans_to_migrate_LAPD_to_Google_s_cloud_apps_dropped
December 22, 2011 - "After more than two years of trying, the City of Los Angeles has abandoned plans to migrate its police department to Google's hosted email and office application platform saying the service cannot meet certain FBI security requirements. As a result, close to 13,000 law-enforcement employees will remain indefinitely on the LAPD's existing Novell GroupWise applications, while other city departments will use the Google Apps for Government cloud platform. Council members last week amended a November 2009 contract the city has with systems integrator Computer Science Corp. (CSC) under which CSC was supposed to have replaced LA's GroupWise e-mail system with Google's email and collaboration system. Under the amended contract, the LAPD will no longer move its email applications to Google... Google maintains that the LAPD's security requirements were never part of the original contract..."

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« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2011, 04:16:39 »
AplusWebMaster Offline
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FYI...

Cloud patch management issues...
- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/22/patch_management/
22 December 2011 - "... Cloud-based application vendors update their software regularly without customer input. As an enterprise user, you may be able to stay on an earlier revision for a while by negotiating with the vendor... Other challenges include the consumerisation of IT, which encourages employees and contractors to bring in devices such as tablets and smartphones. Making sure these are adequately patched creates a whole new set of problems, landing us in the sticky area of network access control, network quarantine and policy servers to manage... every so often, a patch appears that takes down a piece of software. For example, Microsoft's recent gaffe, in which it accidentally decided that Google Chrome was a piece of malware*, caused problems for many users."
* http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/30/microsoft_nukes_google_chrome/

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« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2012, 07:21:09 »
AplusWebMaster Offline
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FYI...

New Cloud - New Security - New Year ...
- https://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9223123/The_Cloud_Day_20_What_About_Security
Jan. 3, 2012 - "... If I am going to keep gigabytes upon gigabytes of sensitive data stored online, I need some assurances that it is safe. The data needs to be secured, preferably encrypted, so that it is protected even in the event that the storage that contains it is compromised. But, even encrypting data can be tricky when it comes to third party cloud storage providers... They may share my data if compelled by law enforcement, or employees might access and view the files themselves. It is strictly forbidden as a matter of policy, but anyone who would surreptitiously view my data probably also lacks the moral compass to care about the policy... customers can still encrypt their data through other means with their own keys if they prefer. That really seems to be the only viable solution. If I encrypt the data myself, I know that I hold the keys and theoretically only those people I authorize will be able to access my files. But that complicates things, and adds some administrative and processing overhead. For businesses considering a move to the cloud, there are also compliance mandates to consider. Putting data online comes with some risks, and businesses need to take extra precautions to make sure that data is not exposed or compromised..."

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« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2012, 03:33:53 »
AplusWebMaster Offline
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FYI...

Spammers in the cloud
- http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00002304.html
January 26, 2012 - "Facebook is recently doing a decent job at keeping survey spam posts at bay (all things considered). So, what's an entrepreneurial Facebook spammer to do? Well, some have tweaked their master plan, and have expanded their use of "cloud" services. Using Amazon's S3 file hosting service solves quite a few problems for these perpetrators. Number 1, Amazon's S3 web service is pretty inexpensive to set up, therefore they can still earn from the surveys. Number 2, because Facebook has been pretty successful at blocking suspicious URLs linked to spam, hosting their scam's code in a safe and popular domain such as amazonaws.com gives them a better chance to sneak through Facebook's protections... All browsers other than Chrome and Firefox are served with a survey page, thereby ending in actual monetization if the spammer's surveys are filled out and submitted. This monetization happens within the Cost Per Action (CPA) marketing model, which is behind most social media spam. Geo-location techniques are used in an attempt to broaden the spammer's survey completion rate. Depending on the location, the fake Facebook page issues a survey that -redirects- to a specific affiliate marketer... Firefox and Chrome are used as avenues to further spread the scam via Facebook by use of a fraudulent YouTube browser plugin. A fake Facebook page displays a plugin installation if visited from either of those two browsers. Spammers recently began using plugins as part of their cat and mouse battle with Facebook... Upon installing the plugin, a redirector URL is generated by randomly selecting from the usernames, mo1tor to mo15tor, in the Amazon web service. Then, the link generated is shortened through bitly.com via the use of any of the 5 hardcoded userID and API key-pairs. These key-pars gives a spammer the ability to auto-generate bit.ly URLs for the Amazon web service link. This ultimately leads to a redirection to the fake Facebook page. Perhaps, in an attempt to confuse defenses, it also produces a random non-existent domain using the format wowvideo [random number] .com. However, only the Amazon S3 web service and bit.ly URLs are working links..."

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« Reply #38 on: February 29, 2012, 13:11:44 »
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FYI...

MS Azure cloud outages ...
- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/29/windows_azure_outage/
Feb 29, 2012 - "Microsoft's cloud platform, Windows Azure, is experiencing a major outage: at the time of writing, its service management system had been down for about seven hours worldwide... Microsoft has been keeping them updated via the platform's online service page* at least every hour... The service management system first began to have problems at 1.45am GMT (5.45pm PST), according to the page... Microsoft tested the hotfix, before starting the rollout at 9am GMT this morning..."
* http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/service-dashboard/

- http://www.informationweek.com/news/cloud-computing/infrastructure/232601768?printer_friendly=this-page
Feb 29, 2012 - "... Microsoft later said in a statement the service management problems were caused by "a cert issue triggered on 2/29/2012," or a security certificate issue activated once every four years. It said access to services and management functions were "restored for the majority of customers" by 1:30 p.m. GMT in Northern Europe or 7:30 a.m. in the U.S..."
___

- https://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/03/01/windows-azure-service-disruption-update.aspx?Redirected=true
29 Feb 2012 - "... final root cause analysis is in progress, this issue appears to be due to a time calculation that was incorrect for the leap year... The fix was successfully deployed to most of the Windows Azure sub-regions and we restored Windows Azure service availability to the majority of our customers and services by 2:57AM PST, Feb 29th. However, some sub-regions and customers are still experiencing issues and as a result of these issues they may be experiencing a loss of application functionality... Customers should refer to the Windows Azure Service Dashboard* for latest status..."

- https://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/03/01/window-azure-service-disruption-resolved.aspx?Redirected=true
1 Mar 2012 - "... resolved and all regions and related services are now healthy..."

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« Reply #39 on: March 02, 2012, 17:42:44 »
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FYI...

Cloud svc Linode hacked - Bitcoin accounts emptied
- https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/linux-based-cloud-service-linode-hacked-accounts-emptied-030212
Mar 2, 2012 - "A security compromise at Linode, the New Jersey-based Linux cloud provider, has warned customers that hackers breached a Web-based customer service portal used by the company and emptied the Bitcoin accounts of eight Linode customers. One Linode customer reports the theft of Bitcoins totalling around $14,000. In a post on the company blog* Friday, Linode acknowledged the incident, which occurred early Wednesday, and said it had isolated the compromised support account, and that no customer credit card information or credentials were taken. However, the attackers appeared to have targeted a handful of Linode customers who used the service to host Bitcoin wallets, allowing them to pilfer thousands in virtual currency..."
* http://status.linode.com/2012/03/manager-security-incident.html
Mar 2, 2012 - "... Here are the facts:
This morning, an intruder accessed a web-based Linode customer service portal. Suspicious events prompted an immediate investigation and the compromised credentials used by this intruder were then restricted. All activity via the web portal is logged, and an exhaustive audit has provided the following:
All activity by the intruder was limited to a total of eight customers, all of which had references to "bitcoin".  The intruder proceeded to compromise those Linode Manager accounts, with the apparent goal of finding and transferring any bitcoins.  Those customers affected have been notified.  If you have not received a notification then your account is unaffected. Again, only eight accounts were affected.
The portal does not have access to credit card information or Linode Manager user passwords. Only those eight accounts were viewed or manipulated - no other accounts were viewed or accessed..."

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« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2012, 08:35:08 »
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FYI...

Dropbox - malware distribution
- http://blog.webroot.com/2012/03/21/trojan-downloaders-actively-utilizing-dropbox-for-malware-distribution/
March 21, 2012 - "... a collection of files masquerading as RealNetworks updater executables. These files were all located in a user’s %AppData%\real\update_ob\ directory, and the sizes were all quite consistent... the software is in fact malicious, and that it is actually downloading malicious files from the popular web-based file hosting service Dropbox. These files came in two varieties: some files were randomly-named; other files were named for legitimate software. For example: utorrent.exe, Picasa3.exe, Skype.exe, and Qttask.exe... While some of the potential payloads were not present, some malicious URLs were still active... these target files on Dropbox are not legitimate, and they are definitely malicious. When executed they would write -many- files with legitimate names in generally legitimate locations. In some cases, file icons for the malicious files are not identical to the legitimate software that they are masquerading as.
> https://webrootblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/dropbox-spy-3.jpg
... the malware obtains instructions from an XML script accessed via a dynamic DNS service that directs it to download additional malware and utilities from Dropbox and to disable certain antivirus programs which may be running on the infected PC... Another objective of this spy is to collect VERY specific system information, including hardware ID serials, computer and user names, OS version info, AV info, firewall info, UAC status, video device info, and many other pieces of information that no one would want falling into the hands of a stranger... this Dropbox-utilizing spy runs as a chain of downloaders for additional malware;  the non-Dropbox-hosted C&C servers can determine what malware is grabbed by the downloaders so ultimately the end result of the infection is almost limitless. Once installed, malicious actions can vary from serving up rogue AVs, installing keyloggers, rootkits, or whatever the cybercrimal fancies. While it’s unfortunate malware writers have exploited this free service to serve their malware, Dropbox users don’t need to fret. There is no indication that legitimate Dropbox accounts were harvested to serve this malware and it is much more likely the writers simply opened their own accounts within Dropbox to carry this action out."

- http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/dropbox-abused-spammers
08 Mar 2012 - "... Dropbox is being abused by malware authors, as well as spammers. We recently saw a Brazilian Portuguese malware message claiming to contain photos and asking if they can be put onto a popular social networking site. The links in the email point to a Trojan hosted on Dropbox... This abuse is a good reminder that -any- site which makes user-supplied content publicly available must continue to be vigilant about dealing with abuse. Although Dropbox is a high-profile site, spammers target all sorts of sites, big and small. There are many things that sites do to deal with such abuse, but in some cases this crucial work is often seen as low priority, despite the damage that such abuse can cause..."

- http://boards.cexx.org/index.php?topic=17749.msg83371#msg83371
13 April 2012 - "... the use of Dropbox as a delivery mechanism is a something that the industry is going to have to take into account and protect against, as it is an emerging trend."

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« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2012, 02:23:59 »
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FYI...

Zeus targets Cloud Payroll Service ...
- http://www.trusteer.com/blog/zeus-targets-cloud-payroll-service-siphon-money-enterprises
April 10, 2012 - "... we have discovered a Zeus attack that focuses on cloud payroll service providers. These attacks are designed to route funds to criminals, and bypass industrial strength security controls maintained by larger businesses. Our researchers have captured a Zeus configuration that targets Ceridian, a Canadian human resources and payroll solutions provider. In this attack, Zeus captures a screenshot of a Ceridian payroll services web page ... when a corporate user whose machine is infected with the Trojan visits this website. This allows Zeus to steal the user id, password, company number and the icon selected by the user for the image-based authentication system... The financial losses associated with this type of attack can be significant. In August of last year, Cyberthieves reportedly funneled $217,000 from the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA). According to published reports an employee at MECA was victimized by a phishing e-mail and infected with malware that stole access credentials to the organization’s payroll system. With valid credentials, the cyberthieves were able to add fictitious employees to the MECA payroll. These money mules, who were hired through work-at-home scams, then received payment transfers from MECA's bank account which they sent to the fraudsters. We expect to see increased cybercriminal activity using this type of fraud scheme for the following reasons:
First, targeting enterprise payroll systems enables attackers to siphon much larger amounts of money than by targeting individual consumers.
Second, by stealing the login credentials belonging to enterprise users of these payroll services, fraudsters have everything they need to route payments to money mules before raising any red flags. Using these valid credentials fraudsters can also access personal, corporate and financial data without the need to hack into systems, while leaving very little evidence that malicious access is occurring.
Third, by targeting a cloud service provider, the criminals are bypassing tight security mechanisms that are typically employed by medium to large enterprises. In a cloud service provider environment, the enterprise customers who use the service have no control over the vendor’s IT systems and thus little ability to protect their backend financial assets.
Fourth, cloud services can be accessed using unmanaged devices that are typically less secure and more vulnerable to infection by financial malware (e.g. Zeus)..."

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« Reply #42 on: April 25, 2012, 08:49:11 »
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FYI...

What Google Analytics -doesn't- show you...
- http://www.incapsula.com/the-incapsula-blog/item/225-what-google-doesnt-show-you-31-of-website-traffic-can-harm-your-business
"... 31% of your website visitors are likely to be damaging intruders. Google Analytics doesn’t show you 51% of your site’s traffic including hackers, spammers & other non-human stalkers. Most website owners don’t know that a startling 31% of any site’s traffic can harm its business. And although most website owners rely on Google analytics to track who’s visiting their site, Google simply doesn’t show you 51% of your site’s traffic including some seriously shady non-human  visitors including hackers, scrapers, spammers and spies of all sorts who are easily thwarted, but only if they’re seen and blocked...
> http://www.incapsula.com/images/blog-images/stalking_%20Pie.jpeg
As website owners work hard to attract good human traffic, it’s just as important to see and block the bad guys & bots that can hack your site, steal your customer’s data, share your proprietary business information, and a whole lot more. It’s time to see who’s visiting your site, and make sure the good guys get through fast while the bad guys are kept out...
> http://www.incapsula.com/images/blog-images/stalking%20table.jpeg
... Information was anonymously compiled from a sample of one thousand websites of Incapsula customers, with an average of 50,000 to 100,000 monthly visitors."

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« Reply #43 on: May 10, 2012, 12:05:20 »
AplusWebMaster Offline
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FYI...

Is Cloud Security in the Clouds?
- http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/21266-Is-Cloud-Security-in-the-Clouds.html
May 10, 2012 - "... Before jumping onto a cloud, you might want to get the legal team or hire a lawyer to help parse through the Service Level Agreements (SLA) and other contracts that binds the vendor to a responsibility for the company or individual’s interests, assets and IT functions to better understand where the buck will stop so as not to fall through in a security worst case scenario... That could be worded a million different ways in legalese but there is more likely verbiage about up time and setting the expectations of the quality of services provided versus an offer to shoulder the burden of security. Shoot right to the disclaimers and the fine print that absolves the basic model of the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and services of the provider... The threats can come from the -lack- of designed and implemented security by the provider. This may be intentional or not but the lack of oversight or negligence in this area can potentially cause disputes over the difference of control versus accountability..."

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« Reply #44 on: May 25, 2012, 03:20:14 »
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FYI...

Security in the Clouds - Part 1 ...
- http://www.wired.com/cloudline/2012/05/security-in-the-clouds-part-1/
May 24, 2012 - "... Securing a cloud environment involves doing everything we do for traditional IT security plus more. In other words, the fundamental issues of ensuring the CIAs of security – Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability – are still in play. In fact, it’s even more complicated since now we are dealing with the additional complexity of someone else’s infrastructure. That means we have to begin with a comprehensive risk assessment and from there proceed to develop relevant policies, a solution architecture, a solid implementation that enforces those policies and finish up with a process to analyze results and feedback improvements into the previous steps of the cycle. Nothing new here but sometimes in the cloud rush some people think the laws of gravity have somehow been suspended... What the public cloud adds to the equation is a heightened need to get all this right since it will be in a shared infrastructure at a remote location. In addition, things like federated single sign-on (to connect across disparate authentication systems), federated account provisioning/deprovisioning (to create and delete the correct access privileges on the system you no longer have direct access to) and securing the hypervisor layer of the virtualization system used by the service provider become key issues. That last part is often overlooked but it shouldn’t be because each new layer of infrastructure represents a potential attack vector. We know OS’s and apps aren’t perfect so we harden them, patch them and stand up intrusion prevention layers to protect them from the bad guys. The hypervisor in a virtualized computing environment needs the same protections but doesn’t always get the same scrutiny... what happens if the SLA is not met? Many assume that the provider has the capability to guarantee this commitment but in some cases this may be nothing more than a best effort statement with no penalties if violated and no actual ability to deliver this level of service...
Some questions to consider:
• Is the data sufficiently isolated from other users of the shared cloud?
• Are access controls up to the task of keeping the prying eyes of unauthorized users at bay?
• Are you protected against data leakage by administrators working for the cloud provider who are not authorized to view the data but may, by virtue of their privileged status, be able to subvert protections in place?
• Can you get easy access to an audit trail showing who, when, from where, etc., has accessed the data?
• Is it being backed up in case a hard drive crashes?
• Is the environment sufficiently provisioned to handle the demand placed upon it not only by legitimate users but also by attackers launching a denial of service attack?
• What about disaster recovery?
• Is there a mechanism to failover to hot or warm standby at a substantially different geographical location so as to not disrupt operations during an outage?
• Will auditors and regulators be satisfied with your answers to all of these questions?
... so it may not be all that simple to let someone else handle it as you might have first thought as you clearly have some due diligence to perform before turning over the keys to the kingdom..."

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