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Cloud security is becoming increasingly prevalent for businesses in the digital world, says Dominik Samociuk, Senior IT Security Engineer at the software firm Future Processing.
It refers to the technologies, policies, controls and services that protect Cloud data, applications and infrastructure from external threats. However, with the majority of the workforce adopting hybrid working practices, the importance of the Cloud and its security concerns are attracting attention from industries across the globe. In fact, a recent survey discovered that the shift in distributed workforces led to 60pc of companies adjusting their cybersecurity protocols and Cloud tools.
With this in mind, there are a number of challenges and considerations that need to be addressed before a business can successfully migrate to the Cloud in today’s marketplace.
Key challenges for IT leaders
As threats have evolved and new attacks emerge, it’s become even more prevalent for businesses to embrace security-first mentalities and ensure that preventative measures are front of mind. Data breaches for example, are a critical concern for organisations. Failure to deal with data safely can open up the company to significant compliance risks, in addition to data breach fines or penalties. This also links to making sure that the business’ operations are compliant with regulatory requirements across international, national and industry mandates.
Another huge challenge is the lack of IT expertise available to successfully migrate businesses to the Cloud. A recent report by the Cloud Security Alliance stated that 34% of companies are reluctant to move to the Cloud as they believe that their IT and business managers lack the knowledge and experience to handle the demands of Cloud computing. This links to the risk of insider threats, which now accounts for a staggering 43% of all data breaches. Not only does this raise the issue of considering who can view data within the company, but it also means ensuring that no one has more access than is needed to complete their job-related responsibilities.
What’s more, too many organisations migrate to the Cloud without the proper architecture or strategy in place. Before making the move, IT leaders need to understand the threats that they are exposing themselves and their customers to, which in drastic circumstances could result in financial losses, reputation damage or compliance issues. As a result, organisations need to ensure that the security architecture aligns with the business goals and objectives, as well as developing a security framework that can be continuously monitored.
Top considerations when migrating
When transitioning to the Cloud, it is vital to identify who within the business is responsible for security and establish a clear strategy to avoid new security risks. Moving to the Cloud can significantly open up opportunities for cyber threats, so it’s vital for organisations to ensure that its current security controls will remain effective after the migration is complete. Taking extra time to assess the risks is highly recommended, with a report stating that 79pc of UK companies claimed an increase in phishing attacks since the beginning of the pandemic when adopting Cloud services.
Businesses also need to consider whether a hybrid or multi-Cloud environment is best suited to their operational demands. Now more than ever, a large proportion of companies are opting to keep some data on-premise but are faced with the complexities of sharing data between the two environments. This was demonstrated in our recent pan-European survey, with 66% of respondents stating that managing the transition period and hybrid Cloud set-up was a significant challenge to overcome. This is because planning and maintaining hybrid setups involves combining two co-existing environments, one in the Cloud and one on-premise, which is often time-consuming, expensive and risky for companies.
As the structure of each Cloud environment varies in line with business needs, a specialist partner who has knowledge of each platform can help implement best practices to secure the Cloud of the future. Our research shows that working with an experienced partner when migrating to the Cloud needs to be a part of the process from the very beginning to reduce the risk. Not only will these partners have the ability to scale up the migration to the organisation’s required scope, but they will also be able to give the company peace of mind that their security requirements are taken care of.
Although transitioning to the Cloud poses new challenges, organisations are also faced with emerging security risks after the migration has taken place. These vary from vendor lock-in and combining two coexisting environments, to getting the required skills or data loss. As a result, businesses should focus on promoting governance and culture for the Cloud to address security concerns in hybrid, multi-cloud environments. By educating employees, they can limit the risk of human error and prevent breaches or attacks in the long term.
The introduction of Cloud technology has forced everyone to reevaluate their cybersecurity processes, especially as we move into our new normal post-COVID-19. There are increasing security challenges that need to be addressed before a business can consider migrating to the Cloud, including data breaches, compliance, lack of expertise and insider threats. When moving to the cloud, it is also important to remember about appropriate risk analysis for data and processes taking place in the cloud instead of on-premise, and for risks to make decisions on their reduction or acceptance by implementing appropriate risk treatment plans. As a result, many companies will choose to work with an expert partner who will bring the knowledge, assess all risks and provide technical expertise to ensure a seamless and secure Cloud migration.