Security considerations when moving to the cloud
Businesses are moving to the cloud at an increasingly fast pace, but it is important to note that successful implementation rarely happens overnight. The good news is that secure cloud hosting is possible, provided both the company and the virtual private cloud provider work together to guarantee proper protection.
Gartner recently hosted a security presentation in which executives at the research firm argued for a reorientation of IT practices toward a forward-facing and proactive approach. At the event, Vice President Greg Young offered a three-pronged system: "keeping the bad guys out," "letting the good guys in" and "keeping the wheels on."
Infrastructure protection itself is the first vital step. Making it as difficult as possible to breach the system while employing modern security systems should be common practice in large businesses. If it is not, this is the first area to focus on and fix. Such an implementation is about more than protecting against external threats. Lost data, stolen devices and even issues with employees can sometimes be greater issues than poor firewalls. However, even internal problems can be tracked with up to date software and properly trained IT.
Focusing on access management
Gartner’s oft-cited "Nexus of Forces," a collection of elements shaping the face of IT, have a secondary impact that is overlooked. Social networks, cloud computing, mobility and big data are all exploding, but each of these forces is creating a complex network of users. Access points have grown exponentially and companies need to be sure there is a system in place to monitor activity effectively.
The alternative is to abandon social or big data, either of which would have unintended consequences. Companies are striving to learn as much about customers as possible in order to fit their needs and drive profits. Google's mining algorithms and cross-platform information building are a strong factor in the company’s future success, according to another Gartner VP, Earl Perkins. In fact, Perkins predicted big data's success rates will improve dramatically in the next three years.
But as information starts getting difficult to manage and both users and personnel enter a company's network from repeatedly diverse access points, decision makers need to look to software and processes, Perkins said.
A solution, then, would be to turn to virtual private cloud vendors while strengthening internal security practices. Up to date software mixed with trained IT professionals is the only possible approach, Perkins argued, because it is "measurable, repeatable and survivable."