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GCN : May 2013
GCN MAY 2013 • GCN.COM 9 The free cloud storage services pro- liferating on the Web can be tempting for agency employees --- being free, for starters. But they can be security risks, and states such as Pennsylvania are trying to steer agencies away from using them by suggesting enterprise services as rst options. Despite strides in improving the security of these services, free cloud storage solutions have security shortcomings and have historically experienced major breaches, said Erik Avakian, Pennsylvania's chief infor- mation security of cer. "Some have suffered signi cant breaches over the past several years, and some have ex- perienced some form of downtime and security problems and/or breaches," Avakian said. In a report by the National Associa- tion of State Chief Information Of cers'. Users of these cloud services can never be sure what level of security a provider is using to secure user data, Avakian noted. Data location is often not guaranteed either --- it may be in servers outside of the United States. Also, there is a greater risk of mismanagement, theft or loss to data compared to an in-house solution, since a user's data is stored on servers shared by many different customers, Avakian said. Since the release of the NASCIO study, states have raised more ques- tions on cloud providers' security and policies and continue to seek ways to put the proper controls in place, meet security standards, and craft accept- able use policies. At the same time, state CIOs under- stand they must support the business objectives of their agency customers and offer enterprise alternatives to free cloud services. Avakian noted that "the risk and legal rami cations of using such services needs to be evaluated on a provider-by-provider basis." Service providers that allow dual-factor authentication and user- provided encryption keys should be favored, he added. • Free cloud storage is tempting, but is the price too high? BY RUTRELL YASIN When you re ready to do something bigger When you re ready to advance your career You are ready for American Public University American Public University is ready to help you move your career forward. We offer respected degrees in Business Administration, Information Technology, Security Management, Management, Military Management and Program Acquisition, and more --- completely online. We re also able to provide our students with opportunities beyond the virtual classroom working with select Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. And people are taking notice. We ve been nationally recognized by the Sloan Consortium for effective practices in online education. When you re ready, visit StudyatAPU.com/GCN We want you to make an informed decision about the university that s right for you. For more about the graduation rate and median debt of students who completed each program, as well as other important information---visit www.APUS.edu/disclosure.