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Cybersecurity: How businesses can look to the cloud for solutions | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


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Cloud computing — the delivery of computing services like servers, storage, databases, and software over the internet — offers flexible resources and economies of scale to businesses since users typically pay only for the cloud services they use.

Utilizing multi-cloud and hybrid cloud solutions —where a business uses a cloud service managed by an outside vendor and an onsite cloud managed by in-house IT resources — can provide key benefits, including cost reductions, reduced risk, and increased flexibility. But they also add complexity to information governance since data resides in multiple locations with multiple service providers.

To address these and other issues, organizations should work with an experienced IT Managed Services Provider (MSP) to revisit their data integration and data governance policies — and consider network segmentation, firewalls, monitoring, and cloud encryption to help strengthen security. Additionally, incident response plans will need to take into account the various environments and providers involved.

Empowering Innovation

The benefit for businesses is that cloud computing opens the door for transformative technologies and exciting innovations, making emerging technologies accessible at scale. For instance, with the cloud, businesses can access AI, machine learning, and big data analytics without making substantial infrastructure investments. This allows even small businesses to gain a competitive edge.

And as AI plays an increasingly important role in many industries, the cloud will prove indispensable, since AI models require access to huge amounts of data and vast computing power. But advances like AI-as-a-service mean that organizations of all sizes can access AI capabilities through a subscription. By democratizing emerging technologies like AI and offering greater connectivity than ever before, the cloud opens the door for unprecedented innovation and flexibility, especially with applications like Microsoft Teams that enable real-time collaboration regardless of distance.

In addition to flexibility, hybrid cloud solutions offer near-instant scalability, which can deliver valuable benefits to companies that experience fluctuations in demand, such as retail businesses. This way, when an organization needs to temporarily increase storage space or computational capacity, it can do so without over-provisioning onsite data centers and incurring higher fixed costs.

Modern hybrid cloud architecture also supports portable workloads, which deliver improved business continuity. For instance, when applications can run either on-premises or in the cloud, an organization can avoid downtime in the event of a service outage or disaster.

At the same time, the cloud radically changes the data environment. Businesses need to carefully balance opportunities against increased complexity and evolving security threats, since cloud services can act as an entry point for attackers. While many cloud providers offer various levels of encryption, such as firewalls and authentication protocols, such measures alone cannot guarantee complete safety against external threats. For example, if a company neglects to secure its application programming interfaces, bad actors may be able to use those APIs as a backdoor to access sensitive information even if the data storage system is otherwise secured.

Companies utilizing cloud services will also need to implement security and information governance best practices. Among other initiatives, they need to choose their providers and partners carefully, ensuring their advisers can offer a full range of cloud services while protecting critical assets with state-of-the-art cloud security customized to business needs and budgets.

And since companies that utilize cloud services are typically passing data to a third-party service provider, user organizations must update their security and compliance strategies, accordingly, striking a balance between leveraging the immense capabilities of the cloud and implementing robust security. Such measures as zero trust architecture, centralized identity and access management, and improved encryption will prove critical. AI-enhanced security measures, including continuous threat monitoring, can also be useful in detecting and responding to threats quickly and efficiently.

An experienced IT MSP and cloud services provider can help guide an organization through designing and implementing an optimal cloud solution that meets the specialized needs of a business.

 

Carl Mazzanti is president of eMazzanti Technologies in Hoboken, NJ, providing IT consulting services for businesses ranging from home offices to multinational corporations.

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