Business benefits of information security for managed cloud services

Business benefits of information security for managed cloud services

March 27, 2017
Paul Orrock


When considering migrating to the cloud, you need a clear understanding of the potential security risks and benefits.

While security concerns are similar across cloud services and traditional IT services, those concerns increase due to the outsourced management of assets and the potential for mismanagement of those assets.

“Security controls in cloud computing are, for the most part, no different than security controls in any IT environment. However, because of the cloud service models employed, the operational models, and the technologies used to enable cloud services, cloud computing may present different risks to an organization than traditional IT solutions.”
Cloud Security Alliance

Migrating to the cloud does involve a transfer of and control to the cloud provider. Despite this loss of control, you will benefit through increased information security when you migrate to the cloud – and this in turn helps your business reduce costs, increase profits and free up staff to concentrate on more valuable, strategic work.

Here are some of the main business benefits of information security for managed cloud services.
 
Download our information security whitepaper, The Security Mindset, to realise the benefits of information security for managed cloud services.
 

1. A secure cloud environment offers reduced costs

With managed cloud computing services, the costs of IT projects have come down. This lowering of costs means an accompanying increase profits.

The main way a secure cloud environment reduces costs by helping you avoid costs of downtime. With a more secure IT infrastructure, your systems and process have increased uptime and productivity.

The cloud also reduces costs by giving you scalable and flexible storage. For example, Digital Craftsmen recently reduced a client’s cloud hosting costs by 29%, while increasing the security of their environment. Read the case study.

 

2. The cloud is more secure than alternatives

One main advantage of the cloud is that it is more secure than alternatives. This is because the company’s data is controlled on servers that no other company has access to.

The servers can sit within the network boundaries of the company using them, with those servers managed and maintained by the IT team. Or they can be in the data centre of a cloud service provider, with an company accessing the data stored on the servers via secure network links.

With cloud servers, an organisation does not have to worry about the physical security of servers. That said, data centres used by cloud service providers have to meet strict data security compliance requirements.

 

3. Businesses are alerted to issues much earlier in the cloud, which reduces costs

Cloud service providers use alert systems that are monitored to provide updates about various updates or problems that can erupt at any point. This means you can respond to any issues more quickly and will experience less downtime.

For example, Security as a Service solutions can dedicate teams to a specific activity, such as monitoring logs, and spread the cost across many different customers, lowering cost for everyone.

With security products now having a dedicated log monitoring team, this raises the effectiveness of the security program and frees in-house staff to focus on higher level risk management activities.

 

4. Data in the cloud is backed up and can be recovered quickly

With cloud computing management services, restoring data at the time of disaster is taken care of. You simply find the most recent backup and restore that version.

The system admin who manages the cloud should look at its restoration factor as well. This means you do need not worry about how well your data is protected and backed up.

 

5. Multifactor authentication is more secure than traditional passwords

Many cloud computing vendors now offer Multi-factor Authentication as part of their service.

Multi-factor Authentication (MfA) is much more secure than the more traditional username and password authentication convention. Multi-factor authentication systems combine something you know (password), with something you have (hard token), or something you are (biometric).

Unfortunately, many small and mid-size companies don’t have the resources (skills, time, or money) to install such authentication capabilities on their own, which is why working with a cloud provider is more secure.

For a comprehensive list of web services that support MfA, see this list of websites and whether or not they support MfA.

 

6. Security vulnerabilities are automatically updated through patching

Many software products need diligence when it comes to applying security patches and testing these patches to make sure they were applied. Many companies do not have the resources to perform this complex and time-consuming task, which puts their systems at risk.

For cloud managed services, patches and security updates are applied automatically, for example, through the Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Relational Database Service (RDS) on Amazon Web Services. This reduces the management overheads and Total Cost of Ownership of your solution.

However, management of Virtual Machine patches is the responsibility of your managed cloud services provider, and this is a service that Digital Craftsmen provider for their clients.

As we are seeing in the news with malware and cyberattacks, like the recent Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) attack, hackers feed on known vulnerabilities, often more than a year old, that are not patched. So it’s important to have a managed cloud services partner on board.

 

7. Security certifications are easy to get and maintain with cloud services

Many industries need IT systems and facilities to maintain certain types of information security and privacy certifications. These certifications can be expensive for companies to get, but many cloud vendors provide access to products that are already certified.

Even if your business does not need certification, it may be comforting to engage with cloud vendors who offer them. This demonstrates mature business practices as it relates to information security.

This reduces the time and cost needed to acquire information security and privacy certifications.

 

8. Improved Governance and Auditability

Cloud Services also allow your governance policies to be mapped into the cloud, including password policies, user access, storage types, MfA requirements, and more.

These settings can be applied to your cloud account to inform you of any deviation throughout the lifecycle of your systems.

Similarly, constant monitoring of your policies allows for them to be audited in a time efficient manner and double checked via an API, as virtually every aspect of your cloud account can be queried and checked.

More information on this can be found in Amazon’s guide to Automating Governance on AWS and how you can add an Azure governance offering to the services you provide.

 

To discuss the information security of your managed cloud services and see how Digital Craftsmen can help you, contact us for a friendly discussion with our experienced team.

Download our information security whitepaper, The Security Mindset, to realise the benefits of information security for managed cloud services.

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