Are You Sitting on a Cloud-Based House of Cards?
Don't bring down your company because you've failed to do your due diligence before signing up for cloud services.
When a COO makes demands to secure his organization, you have to wonder what the business has done to place itself at risk, and why. Could such a mandate stem from a HIPAA violation or be the result of a compromised customer list? Or is the use of cloud services somehow at fault?
As we know from discussions about cloud communications on No Jitter, many companies are using public cloud services because they provide quick and easy access on the cheap if not for free. But this ease of access sometimes means little thinking and planning goes toward the cloud decision, leaving business owners and leaders to say, "We didn't know," should a data breach or other issues surface.
Before jumping on the cloud, enterprises need to do some research and ask some key questions regarding privacy, security, availability, contingency, and data ownership. In some cases, a thorough reading of a terms and conditions agreement will reveal important information on data ownership -- as in, your organization cedes control of data ownership to the cloud provider.
In other cases, you might find your organization unable to get service restored quickly should you not have vetted the cloud provider properly. You need to know in advance, for example, what might happen to your data that lives on a shared cloud resource hosting another company's data that's been breached. Are companies on shared cloud resources adequately prepared in the event of a data compromise? Are your cloud service providers adequately prepared and equipped to mitigate attacks or breaches?
Today's landscape is a similar scene from the early days of divestiture, but with a huge cautionary note. Not only are technology and configurations more complex, but also are more diverse and interconnected. One compromise has the potential to knock down a house of cards, and while it may not be as probable, it's always possible that when there's a hole someone is bound to find and exploit it.
Whether you are utilizing public, private, or hybrid cloud services, due diligence requires your attention. In April, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) announced that the software-defined perimeter withstood the challenges against it in the group's third-annual hackathon. Still, businesses need to understand that not all cloud services are equal, and they need to get on board with how to handle any compromise or data breach that occurs in the cloud. Even some of the largest organizations have had their lessons learned on improper preparation.