Understanding cloud security and impact on business environment

Importance of cloud security

For most medium to smaller-sized businesses, a successful cloud security strategy in the future hinges on the ability to provide a holistic method of managing security and governance across your server environment so as to provide customers with differentiated services and maintain their trust and loyalty. This requires a well designed security and governance plan for the customers’ services and information as the cloud environment provides a way to dramatically improve the security of their IT systems by linking their internal IT infrastructure to external IT security expertise.

A typical cloud environment is tied not only to the data within a specific application but also to a line of business applications and different environments running in the data center, ecommerce applications and other customer facing environments. Being able to manage the flow of this data is a critical issue in cloud environments.

Security breach and risk management

The risk of an IT security breach is very high at most small to mid-size businesses. Creating secure infrastructure environments is an important part of a comprehensive cloud security strategy. Managed security service providers use the cloud to create economies of scale that enable them to keep security protection timely while offering comprehensive security solutions affordable to midsize businesses thereby making data control being essential in any kind of cloud servicing environments.

However, the central focus for your security efforts always gets around ensuring the safety of your data. Deploying public or hybrid cloud solutions results in putting your business data on your partners’ systems. Data is the lifeblood of your business. Therefore, how you manage your data is critical to the health of the business and may have business implications.

Measuring effectiveness of data security

Companies needs to develop and publish a consistent set of rules and policies regarding the creation, capture, management and transmission, storage and deletion of confidential and business critical data. A thorough understanding and evaluation of the risks your company faces is a requirement to creating a sound cloud security strategy.

There are different levels of risk and your company has the last word on finding the right balance between overprotection and too much risk exposure. Techniques such as encryption and tokenisation should be used to reduce exposure to data theft and misuse.

Data Protection is a shared responsibility

Cloud governance is a shared responsibility between the users of cloud services and the cloud provider. Cloud governance requires governing your own infrastructure as well as infrastructure you don’t control. Governance policies must be maintained and that audits are necessary to log activity that takes place in server environment and private cloud. Companies must increasingly need to define when, where and how to collect log information so you have an automated way to keep track of how well you are doing in terms of managing confidentiality of your business critical and sensitive information.

Ultimately, what I foresee is that CIO and senior management need to work closely together to weigh the competing influences of meeting customer expectations, optimising business goals, managing resource and cost constraints and following governmental regulations when considering strategies for cloud computing deployment and also ensuring the integrity of the data in server environments.

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