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Prioritizing Cloud Security in a Cloud-First Approach

Enterprises embracing a move to the cloud must prioritize cloud security to protect data and the enterprise network. As enterprises experience the benefits of housing certain business processes in the cloud, many are taking a cloud-first approach, employing the mindset that Everything as a Service (XaaS) is the ultimate goal for digital transformation. While prioritizing cloud services comes with cost savings, better agility and performance, and a host of other benefits, it also requires a prioritization of cloud security.

Enterprises should keep security at the center of their process in choosing a cloud services provider. Ultimately, data belongs to your company and is your responsibility, but it’s important to identify a provider whose terms and conditions align well with your enterprise. There should also be a discussion of data sovereignty, as well as who will be responsible for damages in the event of a breach.

The decision to place data in the cloud is enough of a risk to warrant a careful plan to protect assets. An initial cloud security plan needs to address the exposure that occurs as soon as the data leaves your company’s system. Encryption is a critical step, and should be done before the data hits the cloud provider’s server.

A Hybrid Approach to Cloud Security

Your company must also decide which types of data you want to store in the cloud. You may determine that it’s prudent to store more critical data on-premises and within your own security.

As a result, prioritizing cloud security often lends itself as an argument for a hybrid cloud environment. The IT team is able to retain a high level of visibility into the security of mission-critical data, while your company enjoys cost savings on cloud storage of cold and non-critical data.

A Solution for Cloud Security

Identifying ways for your enterprise to capitalize on the benefits of cloud storage while emphasizing the importance of cloud security presents a challenge, but there are options that can make cloud storage more secure.

An important step is to increase the authentication that devices require before granting access to publicly-stored cloud data. This allows your organization to retain control over who can access the data and from which devices. Enterprises can add a variety of conditions, including who the user is, their location, what types of data they are attempting to access and the device they are using.

Enterprises can set up a virtual private cloud (VPC) to increase visibility with a virtual layer, but it would be better to take your company’s own firewall, virtualize it, and put it in the cloud as an added layer of protection. This allows the IT team to see the entire system from a single cloud security management platform.

T2 has contacts across the industry, bringing enterprises the best the 21st century has to offer in cloud, connectivity, and collaboration partners. Our expert staff connects companies with the right providers for the services they need and manages day-to-day operations so that all they see is the end result. Contact us to see if a partnership with T2 is a good fit for your company.

 

What an IT Manager Can Do to Bridge the Gap Between IT and the C-Suite

The C-suite often misunderstands the priorities of the IT manager, but there are steps IT can take to bridge the gap.How an IT manager views the enterprise is often different from the view of the executives in the boardroom. It makes perfect sense, because executives are viewing the scope of the business with a wide lens, and the IT manager’s perspective is colored by the specific needs and role of technology in business operations.

The impact of this disconnect is that IT may not receive the support it needs to keep the enterprise moving forward at the pace necessary to gain a competitive edge. Executives may have a limited understanding of how decisions made in the IT division may help or hinder them in a variety of ways.

A recent survey highlighted this challenge with results including the responses of C-suite employees and IT managers from large enterprises. It found that conversations between IT and executives need to go beyond simply discussing budgets for hardware and infrastructure to support network needs.

The key findings of the survey included:

  • Most companies continue to use on-premises security solutions and plan to spend more on them in the future, despite the ready availability of cloud options.
  • Most of the respondents plan to continue to rely on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for handling increasing bandwidth requirements.
  • The majority of both C-suite executives and IT managers agree that changes need to be made to handle network requirements, but may disagree on how this should happen.
  • Among IT executives, 80 percent were not confident that data exchanged over mobile connections is secure, but only 56 percent of C-suite executives share that view.

Securing mobile data transfer is a critical topic as the remote workforce continues to grow. The difference in perspective means that executives may not have a clear picture of what’s necessary for managing network security when it comes to mobile use. Boardroom executives are woefully misinformed about the level of security needed to protect mobile data and the increased pressure on bandwidth needs because of mobile devices.

The scope of the survey included topics broader than just mobile security plans, but this area highlights the challenges an IT manager faces in communicating the needs of their department to get adequate support.

For instance, despite the major increase in bandwidth demand due to mobile device use and the advance of the Internet of Things, most of the companies surveyed said that they would increase their investment in VPN, rather than choosing a cloud gateway option. Some enterprises are relying on a mix of cloud and on-premises gateway solutions.

IT managers struggling to get the support needed for bandwidth requirements and security must change the way they communicate with board members. Avoid words like “latency” or acronyms like VPN or MPLS. Instead, speak in terms that highlight the perspective of the executive, such as performance issues and how they impact the customer or other end user.

In addition, simply talking in terms of cost savings when it comes to cloud solutions often makes a big difference in the conversation between executives and IT. Both groups are motivated by reducing costs, so this can be a good starting place.

T2 is the bandwidth-boosting partner who can ensure that enterprises have access to the connectivity provider that best meets location, pricing, and service level requirements. Contact us today for an initial appointment.