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The cloud paradigm is beginning to revolutionize the way developers and users interact with computers. By removing the need to worry about specific installation criteria and removing the logistical problems inherent to software distribution, clouds free developers to focus on creating the best software experience possible. There are, however, some security issues that developers will need to consider.

1) Network security
Clouds and networking go hand-in-hand. Those writing software for cloud systems will need to remember that the program’s data is being sent across network connections. For those who work where the software is being deployed, it can help to ensure that the connections are properly secured. All developers, however, will want to take steps to ensure that the data is safe. If it is possible, encryption schemes can help prevent data from being stolen through man-in-the-middle attacks and other traditional threats to network data.

2) Database security and integrity
It is also important to ensure the safety of important data. Most cloud systems use a database to store information, and those who develop for systems will want to be extra cautious about their database connections. SQL attacks have been implicated in many large-scale network attacks, and nothing about the cloud paradigm provides inherent protection. Careful use of SQL code is necessary to avoid exploits. Further, monitoring solutions can help detect attempts to compromise database information while they are in progress. As with all databases, regular backups are necessary to prevent data loss.

3) Password security
In all networked environments, it is important to enforce password security. Developers can help this by implementing rigorous password procedures. Those who work in the environments where these systems are being installed can encourage management to implement strict password policies before the system is implemented. When software and data interact as intimately as they do on cloud systems, maintaining this separation is crucial, and developers often need to make this point emphatically if they are given the chance.

4) Traditional practices
Most importantly, developers need to use traditional methods of enforcing good development practices rigorously. Too often, old security practices are forgotten when a developer or development team moves to a new development paradigm. It is important to note that these security techniques become even more important when implementing the cloud paradigm; the damage that a break-in can lead to is greater than with traditional software schemes.

Developing for cloud systems is exciting, and many expect that the cloud paradigm will become the dominant force in software development for years to come. Security on cloud systems, however, can be a challenge, and it is important for developers to focus on proper security practices throughout the development process. Fortunately, strict security practices can ensure even more secure systems than old paradigms could support.

Editor’s Note: This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of Liveinnanny.com. She welcomes your comments via email: jdebra84@gmail.com.