Value of Cloud Security

Leviathan Security Group is pleased to announce the release of its four whitepapers on the value of cloud computing as it relates to security issues around data storage, in the areas of data availability, scarcity of expert security talent, and the infrastructure and hardware investment to set up new data storage solutions, as well as on the cost to businesses of forced localization laws.

Our newest work is "Quantifying the Cost of Cloud Security." For this whitepaper, the fourth borne of Leviathan's collaboration with Google to study the security impacts of forced localization laws, we chose to focus on the direct costs to companies of forced localization laws--the actual economic disadvantage inflicted by a country on its businesses when it chooses to require that all data be stored within its borders. As we discussed in our three previous whitepapers on this topic (listed below), the harms of forced localization to data confidentiality, integrity, and availability can be devastating, and this can have significant added economic impact--but we wanted to know how much it costs, on day 1, to cut one's country off from the cloud.

One of our outputs from this research is a visualization that we believe will help to crystallize the issues in play. We've taken all the pricing data from the seven public IaaS providers, along with all the locations of their datacenters, and put them onto a map; anyone can simply select the quantity and type of computer they'd like to use, then see where that type is available--and click on a country to find the pricing, the providers that offer it, and the extra cost of using only providers in that country.

We hope you enjoy, and we look forward to contributing to the public debate on this topic in the future.

For our previous work, we spent several months exploring the value proposition of storing data in the cloud from a security perspective. We wanted to know whether cloud storage is more or less secure than storing data in a local datacenter, for all the different definitions of secure. We wanted to know whether data can be kept confidential, whether data remains available despite localized outages, whether the supply chains that make maintenance of local data centers can be preserved (and at what cost), and whether companies are able to hire sufficient security expertise to defend their investments in storage.

Our conclusions are that companies trying to build local storage solutions equivalent to cloud-based storage products face significant challenges, especially in hiring qualified security staff and in defending their data in the face of large-scale events such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes; our data, our methodology, and our conclusions are available in the whitepapers below.

The three whitepapers are as follows:

Project Team: