Any client that a value-added reseller works with today will probably be considering utilizing the cloud in some way, shape, or form. Maybe it is an SMB (small to medium-sized business) client without a great deal of money to invest in infrastructure just getting started. Maybe it’s a large enterprise that has always managed things in house and is looking to move data off site in order to streamline processes. Regardless of the use case, though, one thing is certain: Security for cloud deployments is paramount. It’s something clients will be looking at—and they should be.
The cloud offers a great number of advantages, but continual news of data breaches on cloud-based systems has some businesses wary of taking advantage of the model. Checking the following items off of a list when you’re talking about, strategizing, and implementing a cloud deployment can assuage fears and, more important, make sure that a company isn’t setting itself up to be breached—with you in the driver’s seat of the project. By answering the following questions, you can set a client up to make the best use possible of this powerful and popular deployment model while minimizing and mitigating the security risks that keep both IT and management up at night.
Have You Hammered Out the Details?
Entering into a cloud relationship is no small commitment. Having the business relationships and responsibilities clearly defined with well-understood service-level agreements is critical to making sure that no confusion exists about who is responsible for what.
If an enterprise enters into a relationship with a third-party cloud vendor and incorrectly assumes that the vendor will handle all of the security (or is even capable of handling all of it), and because of that completely removes in-house IT from the project, that will leave numerous internal systems vulnerable to cyberattack. Having people discussing and signing off on business relationships who understand what is necessary in order to maintain and secure a given deployment from end to end will ensure that a client does not drop the ball on security.
Beyond the threat of data breaches, not losing control of data in the hands of a third party—or losing it entirely if a cloud vendor folds—is another part of data security. Clearly defining at the outset who owns the data that reside on the cloud and who gets the data if things change is just as important as defining who maintains security solutions.
Have You Mapped Out the System?
Every cloud deployment is different and creates an added layer of complexity for already-complex in-house networks. The flow of information to and from the cloud—and in and out of an enterprise—can pose big security challenges. Involving the IT department to map out how the internal network talks to the cloud is a necessary step in implementing the right solutions and procedures to secure the network.
Have You Established Usage Policies?
One of the big problems that cloud computing poses for enterprise security is the use of unvetted cloud-based apps. Less tech-savvy end users will go out and find the tools that suit their needs without giving a second thought to the threats that such tools may pose to networks in terms of potential malware infection. When a third-party cloud relationship is being defined, that’s a good time to review usage policies for the whole network—and to make sure that employees are aware of how they can and can’t use work networks, what cloud-based tools they are allowed to use, and so on. Furthermore, it’s a good time to take stock of what tools could be deployed from the cloud in order to fill the needs that send users searching for rogue apps. In this way, the right cloud deployment could make things even more secure.
Doing Cloud the Right Way
There are a lot of moving parts to a secure cloud deployment, technologically and business-wise. Helping a client navigate a deployment in an organized, orderly fashion, and helping the client implement the cloud in the way that best suits its needs and integrates smartly into the rest of its enterprise computing setup, is key to a profitable business relationship. More important, it’s key to having clients that can rest assured that their data are safe, both in house and on the cloud.
How have you seen solution providers manage secure cloud deployments?