Protecting data with smooth cloud transition

Vic Mankotia , VP - Solutions Strategy, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies
In this ever evolving technology landscape, while organizations embrace various trends like Cloud, Mobility and BYOD, they need to also brace themselves with the disadvantages that come along with these trends. The major concern which tops every CIO’s list is Security. Back in the day, CIO’s had to worry about whether their PC is password protected and updated with the latest anti-virus. However, over the years, IT Security has come to mean much more than just passwords and anti-virus. As Indian organizations are moving from physical infrastructure to dense virtualization, the threat scenario is also rapidly evolving. That is why organizations that have adopted cloud, have to be aware of the security repercussions that it would entail. 

It is important to note that cloud comes with many security challenges. Public Cloud, which is a meta-trend, pushes data into all directions. Controlling and retaining information in the Cloud environment is a key task for any enterprise. The security of mission-critical application data in shared Clouds or virtual machines is a concern for companies that want to virtualize or move these production applications to the Cloud, which if countered, can enable move mission-critical applications to private, public, or hybrid Clouds while retaining full ownership and control over their high-value data

Concerns such as data protection, Identity Management, Data Recovery amongst others tops the list of security issues for cloud computing. Privacy is another major concern. By adopting the following measures, organizations can ensure a smooth cloud transition as well as protect their important data:

Need for User Authentication
This is all about access and who accesses the data whether in transit or storage. Since cloud computing is usually done beyond the office firewall, there’s always that fear of putting data out in the public. Traditionally, businesses store their data on physical servers in their premises and one would need an on-site access to compromise or breach the data and this has been seen as a deterrent to hacking and illegal access. User authentication is still one of the main fears despite the fact that cloud providers ensure data encryption besides employing necessary safeguards to monitor access. Organization can resort to Identity Management solutions to ensure access of data and applications to only authorized users. 

Data Protection & Accessibility
No enterprise would ever want to expose themselves to any risk concerning their data because the ramifications of this are too great to even spell out. Generally, organizations are privy to large amounts of data, both client as well as internal company data. Any slight goof up could result in loss of not only personal but also client data. This will result in loss of client confidence and can even lead to business loss. 

Ultimate objective of safeguarding the data can only be achieved by ensuring a robust security model. Therefore, it is also important to offer accessibility only to the right people with right access and right information. Organizations must play a decisive role in designing the security layers considering the ultimate user and overall regulatory compliance standards. Additionally, organizations must have trust and assurance in the cloud environment including data center services, software and support staff provided by cloud vendor. 

Access to the Right people
The emergence of BYOD puts additional responsibility on organizations to ensure that the data is protected and not misused. To this end, organizations have chalked out stringent policies to handle the same. By automating processes for managing and validating user access, IT can significantly improve security, operational efficiency and the business user experience. Additionally, Leveraging an accurate identity, entitlements and role model for identity management activities can improve overall security. Streamlining identity management process will further simplify regulatory compliance while enabling the business to manage access requests, and automates identity compliance processes.

The inevitable: Data Breach, 
Damage and Loss

There’s a perceived threat to data in cloud because of varied reasons and one of them is fears of data loss, breach or damage. This is one security jitter however that has been counter-checked with cloud data back-ups and multiple server storage.

Though we might love to think of ourselves as Cloud ready, the failure to comprehend the whole idea of cloud is also proving to be a challenge especially among businesses seeking to use the service for the first time. This is precisely why enterprises are being encouraged to dispel perceived security fears and try to exploit the positives of cloud computing for their business gain.