IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Getting Cloud Security Right

A successful move to the cloud requires careful and deliberate security planning. By Dave Russell and Rick Vanover

As businesses in the online economy become increasingly aware of their reliance on digital infrastructure, the idea of migrating applications and data to the cloud becomes a must-do rather than a nice-to-have. Using cloud-based systems isn’t just about the transfer of data, however. Successful cloud implementation requires careful and deliberate planning in order to secure the environment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the nation shifted to cloud-based services to facilitate new remote work models. And Gartner predicts that by 2024, more than 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software, and business process outsourcing will shift to the cloud—emphasizing cloud computing will continue to be one of the most disruptive forces in IT markets.

While we’ve still got a long way to go until COVID-19 is no longer a consideration, the good news is that cloud-based systems are helping businesses navigate these unchartered waters a little better. After all, who wouldn’t want less admin while gaining the necessary agility to respond to what’s become such a volatile environment? In fact, one could argue the pandemic actually validated the cloud’s value proposition; i.e., digital transformation has become a prerequisite for survival in the current and future landscape.

Digital transformation has also become a case of risk reduction and evergreen opportunity to unlock future business capabilities. However, as cloud adoption and usage grow, businesses must ensure they're putting the right security measures in place. This starts with the understanding that cloud security means supporting your cloud environment your way. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach.

So how can businesses make sure their cloud security strategy is optimized for today, in a way that doesn't hinder the maturity of cloud environments in the future?

Assess the Risks and Plan Accordingly

A key reason a cloud implementation fails, becomes vulnerable, or worse, becomes subject to an attack or loss, is poor planning and execution. To ensure your cloud environment is secure, you need to first consider and understand all the risks, vulnerabilities, and potential threats that exist. Second, recognize what countermeasures need to be taken to allow secure restore or recovery of backups and replication, such as ensuring your network is secure or access to key infrastructure is restricted.

Planning and continuous risk assessment will not only help your customer’s business keep a step ahead in its cloud security strategy, but also avoid major compliance issues and potentially serious legal and financial repercussions.

Know What’s in the Contract

Many fail to realize that service-level agreements (SLAs) and cloud service contracts only guarantee service and recourse should an incident happen. Therefore, it’s important to check data ownership and know what would happen to it should your customer terminate services. More often than not, there are a lot of gray areas in the terms and conditions that are simply overlooked, which could be the deal breaker in the event of a breach.

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