Cloud Security – Questions to Ask

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Cloud services can provide any-sized business efficiency and cost savings. Cloud services can also help free up time to allow for innovation and speed up time to market. For some companies cloud services can also provide better security.  IT teams wear many hats to keep their systems in tip-top shape as the world demands always on service.  Many teams are looking to trusted partners who offer solutions to help them manage.

When it comes to adopting a cloud solution, many put security on the top of their list of concerns.  In fact, IBM recently found that 76% of CIOs consider IT security their biggest risk. Security just like other criteria should be evaluated thoroughly when looking at a new IT service whether that service is cloud related or not. IBM Cloud pulled together these questions to ask when evaluating a cloud service:

  • Who is responsible for security? Understand who owns what once the cloud solution is in place. You may find that the provider does not take full security responsibility or uses a third party.  Depending on the skills  of your team, you will need to decide if you can handle the added security needs or perhaps you can work on a shared responsibility setup or you may want a vendor who has full cloud security expertise and handling
  • How do you evaluate if the security is adequate?  When it comes to security don’t stop your evaluation at the certificate level. Dig in and find out what and where the certification covers and what it means to your business. Better yet, look for a cloud service provider that covers security for the entire infrastructure and can help you manage regulatory compliance standards
  • What happens if something goes wrong? You must understand the provider’s disaster recovery process. In today’s always on world, quick recovery is crucial not only to your customers and employees but also to your bottom line

Finally, once the decision is made to move forward, be sure to clearly document the process, procedures and the division of responsibility for managing your cloud service.

Cloud: A Core Strategy

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Phil Weinzimer kicks off a recent article on IBM’s Thoughts on Cloud blog with a question: What are clouds?

He  explains that for CIOs the answer centers on use and strategy, “Top tech chiefs and company executives are trying to figure out how to use cloud technology and to what degree it should be part of their company strategy.”   But there are still common misconceptions regarding cloud and security remains a top concern. Mr. Weinzimer talks with an industry expert about cloud security and how it hinders business leaders from developing a cloud strategy.

Hesitation. Mr. Weinzimer highlights these stats:  Gartner reported that cloud spending is expected to reach $16.5 billion in 2016 and a Forbes survey found that 93% of organizations run cloud apps and 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Despite these facts, many companies are still hesitant to move forward with cloud due to security concerns. The cloud presents a different set of security challenges than for example a private data center but that does not mean that the cloud is not secure.  There are many best practices in place protecting critical data in the cloud today and a that is why a thorough vetting of cloud service providers and your own internal practices is necessary.

Control. Mr. Weinzimer asks “why are so many companies fearful of the public cloud.” One reason is control which harks back to security. Many companies are nervous about public cloud because they feel they will lose an aspect of control over systems or data. The true fact is that many cloud providers have more security infrastructure in place than their clients themselves could provide or stay on top of and in some cases can be more transparent than what a company might have in place internally.

The cloud is changing the way we do business as well as our operations. To develop a cloud strategy, just like with past new technologies, IT must evaluate and determine the risk and rewards based on their companies’ unique needs and place in the market.  Embrace the opportunity to explore and answer the question “what is the cloud” to your company.

Interested in discussing cloud more in depth? Join us February 11th in St. Paul. Our team will discuss what is happening in the cloud industry and break down the questions (and answers!) you should ask to develop a solid cloud strategy.  After the discussion we will head over to the Xcel to watch the MN Wild take on the Washington Capitals. We invite you to register.