Why a cloud computing infrastructure equals more security

December 7, 2022
7
 min read

If we have learned anything over the past couple of decades, it’s that cyber criminals are, if nothing else, ruthless, relentless and often ingenious when it comes to getting around IT security systems. Illustrating this point is the most recent Cost of a Data Breach report from IBM. The study found a 10% increase in the cost to recover from major data breaches at corporations.

The international study, which looked at over 500 breaches internationally also found that it took on average, 287 days to ID and contain the breach. The healthcare industry was the biggest loser with the average cost to contain breaches at the major organizations included in the study costing over $9 million USD each.

For many, the solution to security problems like these are a shift to the cloud. Let’s look at why so many organizations are now utilizing a cloud computing infrastructure, along with insights on how it may work for your team as well.

CIOs and IT management love the security of the cloud

Cloud computing is a growing market. According to research done by Statista, the public cloud computing market brought in almost $495 billion USD in revenues internationally in 2021 and is still rising. Those figures don’t include private and hybrid models.

Businesses have chosen to adopt use of the cloud infrastructure for many reasons: 

  • Scalability and flexibility of systems for organizational growth
  • Security responsibility is shared by the business’ IT and their cloud providers, leading to increased cyber protection
  • Cost-effectiveness of cloud solutions
  • Ease of use
  • Cloud provides more mobility for staff, including remote-work capabilities 

Cloud computing infrastructure vs. on-premises (data center)

Cloud network infrastructure can basically be summarized as: all the hardware and software needed to create cloud networks. 

While traditional data centers utilized physical hardware, servers, routers, and more, the cloud uses virtualization to “virtually” divide one physical server into multiple virtual servers capable of handling numerous clients. 

Virtualization is what makes the cloud scalable and affordable. When an organization scales up or needs more resources, virtualization is used to “add” more storage space.

A few basic advantages of the cloud for IT management

The autonomous nature of many cloud features also frees up time, making it easier for CIOs and IT management to focus on other work.

Though there is no type of computing infrastructure invulnerable to malicious attacks, many cloud computing services have more security in place than traditional data centers. Cloud servers are located in high security warehouses with limited access to most individuals.

Meanwhile, the files stored on them are encrypted with peak security measures. 

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Some essential features of cloud services, like automatic cloud patching, automatic system updates, and more are additional critical tasks taken off of the plates of busy IT teams, helping to protect organizations from malware and other attacks.

Also, high level encryption is used to protect client data along with the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI.) AI can be used for several critical tasks, including forecasting potential client needs, spotting system flaws, and more. 

Types of cloud computing services

Below is a brief list covering the types of cloud computing services available. 

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service): Is a hybrid service; organizations manage part, but not all their data and applications on-premises. Meanwhile, cloud providers are used to manage servers, hardware, networking, storage and more.

PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service): In this model, developers build and host web application using tools from the vendor. It provides a customizable application framework managing operating systems, software updates, storage, and more.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service): In this model, software is hosted online, available by subscription usually. The third-party provider manages all tech issues.

Serverless: There is also the option of serverless computing, a pay as you go type of service. 

The cloud was built with security in mind, here’s how

Unlike many physical data centers, the cloud was built for transformation. Cloud systems are easily updated with each new threat of malicious attack. The cloud instantaneously adds the latest security updates, making systems even safer.

The effectiveness of cloud security systems is partially impacted by how well clients use security rules and procedures that have been put in place. A CBS News report in 2021 found that 85% of successful data breaches involved human error, not the code or IT, and that 5% of successful data breaches led to losses of $1 million or more for the business. 

It’s obvious training must be done on a regular basis to ensure that cloud computing infrastructure is not only in place but is used properly by the staff. 

SASE and cloud security

The features and flexibility of the cloud infrastructure has led to many cyber security innovations and transformations. Security Magazine talks about one of these changes, now implemented by many organizations: the SASE framework. SASE which stands for Secure Access Service Edge combines Zero Trust strategy and other ideas to provide even more security for organizations.  

Adopting a “cloud first” mindset can help with your security  

As an article in Worth Magazine stated, building your security infrastructure with a cloud first mindset can help businesses build in cloud security measures from the very beginning. Adopting a cloud first strategy can help companies add security considerations into every IT decision, into the very foundation of a business’s cloud adoption planning.

But as always with IT security issues, clients need to be an active part of the conversation when it comes to the cloud. 

Disaster recovery, maintaining business continuity with the cloud

No organization wants to consider what would happen to their data if a natural disaster (earthquake, fire, flood) occurred. But after two years (and counting) of a pandemic, recent life has taught us all to expect the unexpected. Use of the cloud means that no longer are last minute, physical backups required. The security systems of cloud services providers are large scale in capacity and standardized to prevent data breaches.

As Google’s website notes, a robust disaster recovery system using the cloud can help with the following:

  • Ability to keep operations running, minimizing organizational downtime, costly shutdowns
  • Maintain consistent online presence so that businesses don’t fall behind to competitors
  • Ensure that no data is lost
  • Continuous proper storage of private info and data, even during disaster, to avoid fines from regulators (like GDPR)
  • Provides good customer service, because even during disasters clients need to have their networks running

How the cloud helps avoid a single point of failure situation on systems

A single point of failure (SPOF) is when an entire network or system fails because one essential component of it malfunctions or is no longer accessible. 

System failure may occur often because of one software or hardware component that stops working. 

EXAMPLE: An important software application your entire organization uses for day-to-day, like payroll or CRM, is running on one physical server. If the server or router goes down, the application goes down and work stops. No one has access to the software or the data on that server until the issue has been rectified. 

Plan redundancies to prevent SPOF

Redundancies, i.e., having duplications of critical components, in network systems has long been an IT management mainstay, used to prevent SPOFs for on-premises as well as cloud infrastructures. 

Though nothing is foolproof, the cloud makes it easier and more cost-effective to add redundancies–and security. 

Some other ways the cloud beats data centers when it comes to SPOF

  • The cloud is more time-effective; instead of having to wait for new equipment, etc. if there’s a malfunction, it’s just a matter of new code or updates
  • On-premises systems are vulnerable to cybercriminals, gaining access with a USB or through unprotected Wi-Fi; data on the cloud is resistant to these, and other simple (but effective) malicious attacks—there are no on-site hard drives or servers for cyber criminals to exploit
  • Another SPOF concern is BYOD, however using the cloud means there’s no laptop/other device criminals can steal for access to your system–data is password protected, hidden away in the cloud
  • Also, security for physical data centers often relies on on-site staff updating hardware and software on time–delaying an upgrade by just a few days can pose a tremendous security risk to systems; meanwhile most of the components of the cloud can be uploaded and updated automatically, instantaneously

A few more reasons why the cloud is the perfect security choice for your data

Some organizations may worry about making the shift to the cloud. Afterall, there is less of a feeling of being in control when the data is stored in the cloud, then when it is in a server in your building. But sometimes letting go is the solution you’re looking for when it comes to secure management of your data and IP. 

Here are a few reasons why larger cloud providers may be exactly what you need when it comes to ensuring the security of your systems.

The cloud knows what it's doing–or at least its staff does

Everyone who works at cloud facilities are experts in their field, focused only on a few things, like keeping your data safe, running systems updates, constant backups, maintenance, and more.

Meanwhile, your on-site IT team may be so stretched to the limits by other crucial day-to-day tasks like setting up new workstations, they may not be able to keep up with your security needs, especially as your business grows. Keeping data safe is a full-time job. 

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Virtualization speeds up work, while maintaining security

It’s easier for IT to manage security through the cloud because of innovations like virtual machines (VM), than with physical servers. That’s in part because VM comes with centralized, automated tools that can be used to decrease set up time, etc. Automation also leads to less errors, as administrators can create templates, repeatedly installing commonly used services or solutions.

This includes using virtualization to ensure certain security configurations are available to only those with the correct access levels. 

  • System access to vital cloud tasks like template environment configuration can be limited to only one individual to ensure safety.  
  • When employees or contractors leave, or their cloud access levels change, administrators can rescind or adjust their ability to access files with one simple click.

Geographical diversity protects data

Likely, when you migrate to the cloud, your provider will be located somewhere else. This is a good thing. It means if there is a catastrophic disaster in your region, your data will be safe, off-site. Cloud data is regularly backed up on servers housed in multiple locations so there are redundancies or a distributed infrastructure. Also, a disaster at your location might mean the power is out for days, while the cloud, even should it be in a location with similar problems, will have access to multiple power grids–limiting their vulnerability–and making it easier for you to get back to work.

Reporting tools like audit logs are another security benefit

Audit and security logs and other reporting makes it easier for IT management to gain valuable insights into systems with 24/7 monitoring, robust troubleshooting tools, and an increased ability to identify gaps in security 

There’s less risk from denial-of-service attacks

Geographic diversity also means that it will be more difficult for pesky denial-of-service (DoS) attacks to take down systems. Many cloud providers may route a single client’s data from multiple regions as a security measure. 

Cloud providers have deep pockets (and use them) to keep your data safe

Most companies offering cloud services are huge players in tech: Amazon (AWS), Google, Cisco, HP are just some of the players in the industry. These organizations not only have the finances and professional knowledge to keep data safe, but they also have high level security comparable to none.

Their cloud centers will meet even the most demanding security needs of organizations, including yours. 

Flaneer is an expert in cloud services

If you’re ready to make the move to the cloud, you’ve come to the right place. Flaneer uses some of the biggest players in cloud services, like AWS (Amazon Web Services) and others to get you the best service for your storage and security needs. Contact us today to learn more about our cloud packages.

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