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Understanding control, security and risk when moving to the cloud

Fears that cloud environments are less secure than on-premise solutions have long been a barrier to organisations making the move to the cloud.  While some organisations remain hesitant, cloud security is no longer the obstacle that it once was, as Matt Muschol, chief technology officer at Clearvision explains. 

According to a report conducted by Nominet, 61% of security professionals now believe that the risk associated with a security breach in a cloud environment is the same as or less than that of software installed on-premise.

This view is backed by Gartner who are predicting that over the course of 2020 public cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) workloads will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centres.

Attitudes have changed, and for most technology leaders the benefits of public cloud now outweigh the concerns. Cloud providers are now viewed as the experts in security – their business depends on it. Cloud providers hire the best industry talent to protect the infrastructure and invest heavily in the latest security innovation for cloud-based solutions. If cloud adoption is to be increased, security needs to be a cornerstone of any cloud-based business.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is currently the largest provider dominating the public cloud market and has been a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for nine straight years. According to Gartner, AWS accounts for 47.8% of the 2018 IaaS public cloud services market share. That is more than three times the market share of Microsoft Azure, which has 15.5% of the market.

Operational challenges of public cloud

When it comes to migrations, while cloud infrastructure and services are now considered secure, organisations need to be aware that moving workloads to the cloud may result in vulnerabilities in the applications becoming easier to exploit.

Virtual cloud infrastructure and services provide you with maximum flexibility and great security options. However, to keep your workloads secure, security patching, application security and pen testing processes need to be in place. This means that a balance needs to be struck between utilising the flexibility of cloud to react to ever-changing business needs on the one hand, and the compliance and security requirements of the business on the other.

An element adding additional complexity is the more recent trend for multi-cloud strategies. Whilst it is beneficial for a business to not make itself reliant on a single vendor, each vendor has different pricing models, features and terminology along with different compliance models. These need to be navigated and processes put in place to achieve a common base level of security and compliance across all vendors.

The effort, expertise and level of skill required is significant and many businesses struggle to manage this effectively. Furthermore, none of these things are moving your organisation’s core business forward and they are often a distraction from your business’s core mission but still tie up essential resources with non-core tasks.

Retaining business focus with managed cloud services

The alternative to doing this in house is to work with a trusted partner who specialises in cloud-hosted managed services to deliver the solution on your behalf. It is a classic case of making the day-to-day operation of the platform someone else’s problem, leaving you to focus on moving your business forward with core activities without having to give up on the technology that so far has served you well. It also allows you to benefit from the flexibility and seemingly limitless resources available in the cloud without needing to build an in-house team of cloud experts.

According to Gartner: “The cloud managed service landscape is becoming increasingly sophisticated and competitive. In fact, by 2022, up to 60% of organisations will use an external service provider’s cloud managed service offering, which is double the percentage of organisations from 2018.”

For many organisations this is a win-win. Here at Clearvision our ClearHost offering is an example of a managed service designed and operated by our in-house team of cloud experts. The solution is aimed at helping organisations of all sizes with the management of their mission-critical applications. It is powered by AWS who are ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and SOC2 certified, but is managed entirely by Clearvision.

Like the AWS platform it is built on, we have the expertise, automations and economies of scale to handle a large number of workloads, and with our recent ISO 27001 certification we have been independently verified to adhere to industry best practices, ensuring your productivity tools are both available and secure.

With the world of business moving to the cloud, no matter where you are on your cloud journey, understanding how to manage complexity, cost and security are top priorities.  Many organisations, however, are finding that the vast number of options available to them can result in too many blind alleys being followed and they therefore struggle to realise the real benefits of cloud.

With many options available it ultimately comes down to what is best for your business. It is important to take a realistic view of the challenges that cloud can introduce and the resources needed to build and manage cloud environments so that you can make the right choice for your business – be that IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), or a hosted environment built on the secure foundation of public cloud and managed by a trusted partner.

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