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Security and the Cloud

By Steven Wolford, 6fusion Director of Information Security

Is now the time to make the move to cloud services with all the current IT security concerns? Security and the cloud seems to be the topic of conversation for many businesses and IT groups today. As you prepare for that decision making process around your IT infrastructure security, remember to take a risk based approach to help ensure a sound decision from an information security perspective.

Rather than spend months learning, digesting, and attempting to implement a structured formal risk management framework, regard your strategic security planning with these four pillars of risk management.

Identify

What can and should be moved to the cloud? Identify projects, programs or services that have high establishment costs, low utilization, or are expensive to run and operate, as candidates for the cloud. Consideration should be given to services that require rapid turnaround, are seasonal, or have a short usage timeframe but require long lead times for IT infrastructure security and support to be established, as services that will be able to use cloud services with minimal disruptions and risk to the wider business.

Assess

What are the risks to moving to the cloud? In addition to IT infrastructure security, privacy and compliance, another very important element of this pillar is the service characteristics that the cloud provides—including reliability, scalability, portability, vendor stability and the backward architectural compatibility that the cloud service can provide.

Evaluate each cloud delivery method independently; SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS will each present a different set of answers to these questions.

Establish

How will you mitigate each IT infrastructure security risk to an acceptable level? Put processes into place for the use and consumption of cloud services. Document any service fulfillment obligations that are required by the organization. It is important for security and the cloud to be precise when determining operating processes; they will need to integrate with your processes, especially around change, problem, incident, capacity and availability.

Establish service level agreements (SLAs) and rules of engagement that will assist in managing the performance of cloud service. All obligations and controls regarding information security, authorization to operate, security event monitoring, logging, reporting, cloud service reliability, scalability, portability vendor stability and backward architectural compatibility are required to be discussed and documented to ensure true value can be derived when embracing cloud services.

Govern

How are we doing with security and the cloud? Ensure the continued success of the services that have been moved to the cloud and provide the required checks and balances to ensure the integrity of your organization’s data assets within the cloud. Acquire, review, and take appropriate action on continuous real-time reporting for the security governance metrics appropriate for your organization. Some examples would include IT services being consumed, established regular reporting cycles for control obligations, independent verification of IT controls; outline SLAs and cloud service provider obligations as well as organizational responsibilities, and documented roles and responsibilities regarding service establishment and closure.

6fusion puts the highest priorities on security and the cloud and have a tremendous amount of experience with securing cloud infrastructure and IT infrastructure in general. We’d be happy to share our experiences and cloud security best practices with you to help your organization. Reach out to us at info@6fusion.com to set up a time to talk. 

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