F3 Technology Partners | Transform your IT Infrastructure

For a horse stepping into the gate, the possibility of an injury is inevitable. The training team works to ensure the horse and jockey are protected from injury through various practice drills and trial runs, but there is always the possibility of something going wrong during a race. No matter how much you practice, bad things still happen.

The game of secure cloud computing is very much like this horse-racing scenario.

The skepticism surrounding data safety and competent management of cloud services is a conversation among enterprises, even though the rate of migration to the cloud has increased. A recent market survey indicates that by 2019, cloud security auditing would comprise a model to estimate cloud security risks and effective implementation of counter-risk measures, separately.

Despite repetitive warnings from tech researchers and cloud specialists about the inherent security concerns of cloud storage systems, a majority of businesses continue to operate under the impression that service providers are solely responsible for customers’ data security. Such blind conviction has not only led to reluctance in implementing specialized cloud management services but also in the inception of employee-centric regulatory measures, which will ensure responsible action on their part while using cloud services.

Market studies confirm that through 2017, 10% businesses will suffer the consequences of cloud security failure, due to their negligence in evaluating security risks. They estimate further that by 2020, in 95% of cases, cloud security failures will result because of customers negligence.

Cloud Safety is Not a Myth, It’s a Reality

Holding cloud service providers (CSPs) responsible for public cloud security leaks does not change the fact that customers continue to rely on ill-managed in-house systems. In fact, data reveals that multitenant public cloud systems that were provisioned externally demonstrate high resistance against attempts of misappropriation.

The top vendors rely on highly customized cloud platforms, which assist them in averting the typical vulnerabilities that in-house cloud systems contain. Many IT customers refrain from this setup, opting for externally provisioned cloud service management to avoid the cost it involves. What they don’t take into consideration is the value they would receive in return. Failure to protect consumer data implies falling behind the competition. It is essential that enterprises accept the reality that embracing cloud systems doesn’t mean ‘perfect protection.’ Risk management is a necessity and it is high time for organizations to make proactive decisions about whether or not to opt for risk management services in order to mitigate these risks.

How to Ensure Secure Usage of Cloud Computing Platforms

  1. Implement Controlled Usability Based on Business Needs:
    The first step that modern enterprises need to take towards ensuring secure usage of cloud is controlled usability. The shift from a traditional storage system to the cloud is commendable; yet, such migration without due consideration of security and compliance might be counterproductive.

    Without proper governance, sensitive organizational data might be exposed and can be used for malicious purposes. The hacking of System as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) applications and exposure of sensitive, regulatory information become almost inevitable unless a methodical approach, matching the nature of business, is not enforced within the organization.
  2. Implement Personalized Cloud Strategy:
    Most enterprises have not yet embraced any formal guidance that leads to a transparent understanding about different levels of data sensitivity. Because of this, employees fail to decide under what circumstances they are required to use a form of public cloud for a specific class of data sensitivity.

    Once such directives are formulated and subsequently implemented at the executive level, it becomes convenient for employees to run requirement analysis and plan different layers of the public cloud architecture. These steps prevent external support from accessing mission-critical applications. Simultaneously, the risk of undesirable data exposure is minimized.
  3. Strict Determination of Cloud Ownership and Risk Acceptance:
    IT organizations today lack the capacity to enforce ownership directives related to the usage of cloud-based processes and assets. It is a matter of paramount importance that a strict policy be implemented in case any employee attempts to use any ‘previously unsanctioned public cloud service.’ The ownership process must accompany explicit approval from business unit managers. The approval would imply that the relevant policies are adequately complied with while accessing the cloud service and personnel involved in the process completely acknowledge the risks involved. Organizations must demonstrate flexibility towards additional budgetary allocation to ensure that cloud security and usability compliance controls are met.
  4. Separate Operational Control Policies for SaaS, PaaS and IaaS-Based Services:
    The failure to implement separate operational control policies for SaaS, PaaS and IaaS-based services leads to failed cloud security and compliance issues. Without distinctly separate process controls, the risks of unauthorized data sharing and cloud access without proper authorization increase.  SaaS, PaaS and IaaS-based services are different from one another and therefore require separate governance.

    For instance, the control of IaaS-based services requires more attention towards architecture planning, testing, coding practices and keen focus to manage the areas of vulnerability. SaaS-based services, on the other hand, require behavioral monitoring of customers, because it is easy for them to share application data internally or externally, without proper authentication. Without separate operational control, effective use of these services is impossible.

In-house risk management processes tend to overlook the above-mentioned nitty-gritty details of using the cloud securely. Enterprises are required to either develop their own team of cloud-security experts or depend on specialized risk assessment service providers to evaluate security loopholes in their cloud platforms.

F3 Partners team recognizes that decisions around cloud computing must include IT and business and has spent the last 10 years perfecting strategies around the cloud. We can help to architect the right cloud fit for your unique business needs; keeping your environment healthy & secure to be at peak of its performance. The race can be won; learn more about our Cloud Architecture services today.