The reality of data security in the cloud
Data in the cloud is increasingly viewed as the reality of IT infrastructure management.
With such ubiquitous data storage on cloud-based, cloud-based is at odds with the naysayers who continue to cite security concerns as a reason not to move data to the cloud.
So we have a discrepancy – cloud data storage is widely used, yet there are concerns about the security (compliance and privacy also) of the data itself.
The rapid rate of cloud adoption has given rise to the natural necessity to have some data generated live on cloud-based platforms. For other data driven processes, i.e. big data analytics, cloud is the natural storage platform of choice, given the scope and scale of data and the costs of storing it in anything beyond the cloud.
This shifting reality, however, has not mitigated the need for organizations to ensure the security of their data. The difference in how many organizations approach balancing security with cloud usage comes down to how risk is handled by an organization.
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is assuming that once you are managed by a hosting provider or other cloud-based platform company, the inbuilt security features will provide everything you need from a data safety perspective. The reality is that while many cloud service providers can enable significant security improvement, they can only go as far as you let them. Where their management of security ends (usually at the application layer, but also within the infrastructure stack), your management must begin. Achieving security is a mindset as much as it is best practice implementation.
These are a few ways that you can support security from an architectural and support perspective from the outset of a new project:
Dedicated infrastructure: Utilizing a private or hosted private cloud can ensure that both performance and security requirements are met at the architectural level of your infrastructure. Depending on the cloud service provider or managed service provider you use, you can expect scalability and flexibility to be built into the system so you don’t miss out on the cloud’s ability to quickly respond to changes in demand.
HA: Building for High Availability (HA), while not directly related to security per se, has a lot to do with ensuring that data security is supported by maximum uptime. Going down presents a threat to data’s integrity, but can also present an opportunity for flaws in a system to create unforeseen exposure.
Technical expertise: Having the technical skills in-house is just as important as finding the outsourced technical expertise that will enable a greater degree of secure infrastructure planning. MSPs with a track record of compliance should be carefully considered, since that focus requires a high degree of security planning.
Security best practices: The technical bench you gain in a third party relationship should be building security planning into your infrastructure, but should also be proactive in making recommendations that will improve how your internal security process works in tandem with your MSP. From managed firewalls balanced with internal controls, to dual factor authentication and utilizing tokens, the relationship with your MSP should ensure that performance of a system is not mitigated by the necessary security checks put in place.
Monitoring those logs: You and your MSP are both accountable for security. However, monitoring logs for aberrant events can be a burden especially if your IT department is understaffed. You can gain an edge by utilizing MSP support. However, some accountability still rests on your organization to be aware of how things are developing.
What does data security in the cloud mean to you? Let us know @CloudGathering.
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