Cloud risk assessments critical to keeping resources safe

May 3rd, 2013 by - 3,727 views

As businesses around the world continue to pursue mobile, social and cloud computing technologies in an effort to improve operations and stay competitive, more organizations are falling victim to sophisticated digital threats that are being reengineered with next-generation infrastructure environments in mind. To keep mission-critical resources safe, decision-makers will need to be vigilant and implement innovative solutions to reduce risk.

Cloud risk assessments critical to keeping resources safe

Cloud risk assessments critical to keeping resources safe

Unfortunately, the cloud risk landscape is not standardized, meaning organizations are often on their own when it comes to assessing and guarding against potential threats. A recent TechTarget report highlighted how a variety of consulting agencies have come forward during the past several years with documents containing information about the potential cloud threat landscape, although these resources may not provide companies with all the information they need to truly mitigate risk.

Understanding cloud security risk assessments
Enterprise executives need to develop a robust cloud risk assessment framework if they are to migrate mission-critical resources to the hosted environment without exposing those assets to malicious cybercriminals who are targeting the private sector with more enthusiasm than ever. For the most part, Cloud service providers are aware of the expanding threat landscape, however, and have adjusted their offerings to make them more defensive against problems, TechTarget said. Still, the overall risk of doing anything digital is growing, forcing companies to take initiative.

To begin, IT directors should develop a model that defines potential risks and the relationship between those incidents and the data center, the news source stated. This is an important first step because it enables decision-makers to understand what potential threats are associated with using a particular cloud infrastructure model or solution. This approach also allows IT managers to evaluate the residual risk after any controls have been implemented to reduce challenges.

Because every organization is different, each will have its own unique definitions and problems to be on the lookout for. Retailers, for example, need to be aware of payment card industry compliance requirements and how cybercriminals will be on the prowl for financial data. Meanwhile, healthcare institutions must be vigilant when protecting personally identifiable information, as failing to do so will leave existing and prospective patients at risk.

Using technology for assistance
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that all types of businesses can use to improve cloud security and reduce risk. Advanced monitoring tools, for example, enable IT departments to gain real-time insight into the virtual landscape, allowing them to pick up and address any potential vulnerabilities or anomalous behavior that may signify the presence of a threat.

A separate CIO report stated that decision-makers need to take a layered approach when assessing risk, which means they need to evaluate whether robust security is part of a solution’s inherent architecture or IT departments will need to add tools to reduce risk. A tiered protection approach also means that organizations need to look beyond the application realm and evaluate the basic infrastructure, addressing any potential vulnerabilities or problems that could introduce long-term problems down the line.

The cloud can be more secure than traditional environments if executives take a proactive approach by developing a well-rounded and multi-layered risk assessment strategy. By working with the right service provider and understanding the evolving landscape, decision-makers can be sure their use of the cloud is only positive.

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