The article explains the meaning and necessity of controlling the cloud and gives a few useful hints on how to do it right.
If you consider migrating to the cloud, you shouldn't think only of its benefits and how to make it work for your company. What matters even more is making sure you don't lose control over your data in the cloud.
The fear of losing control over your files is not as bad as the loss itself as that will affect everything: business performance, finances and security. A few years ago, when cloud was a rarely used technology, IT departments were mostly focused on the major processes and infrastructures. Until recently, cloud management was something they were not ready for, it actually meant management of the virtual machines.
With the growth of hybrid cloud, managing incompatible domains has become impossible. However, today, companies have successfully created strategies and skill sets to take control over cloud. In short, companies need to meet the standards of integrity, security, compliance, performance and reliability in their cloud environment. Sounds promising, but how to do it right?
We've built a scenario that you should follow to achieve the fullest control possible over your cloud infrastructure and move your data without the fear of losing control over it.
Each of the three cloud deployments - private, public, hybrid - needs its own management system. But when a company can afford to invest in more personalised cloud solutions, it will achieve more control over the platform.
What does it actually mean to take control over cloud?
- Reasonable security options and settings
- Integration / interoperability between on- and off-premises
- On-demand option of backup, archive and disaster recovery
- Monitoring tools
- Self-service access and management
Cloud security is the major concern that users should focus on. Failing to secure data will simply make other features worthless. This is the reason why companies increasingly invest in private and hybrid cloud. Custom clouds with limited access give an added layer of credibility but it's often not enough to feel safe and be safe.
Imagine you usecloud for document processing. The files you create belong to your organisation and you want to have full accessover them. You expect that no one else has access to them unless you give them permission to do that. But, for whatever reason (settings, software bug or lack of expertise), the app lets other users view your documents and modify them. This has all been triggered by faulty access control. Before you take any steps, you have to clearly differentiate between the actions expected from you and those from your cloud provider.
A few key strategies to get cloud under control:
- Use data validation techniques to make sure that any data you input anywhere in the cloud is accurate and relevant. This will help companies avoid irrelevance and unauthorised access to the system.
- Choose data processing settings to guarantee faultless data processing within your cloud application. This is important to achieve maximum automation and data management.
- Choose clouds with accurate file management. This is necessary for structuring any type of files and quickly searching for necessary documents among multiple files.
- Reconcile your data from input to output through output reconciliation management tools.
- Make sure that only authorised users can access your data and modify it. Set cloud options to create different user roles with different capabilities, like read only or reading + modifying. Create group accounts and individual accounts for every user.
- Use encryption technologies for the data that is both stored in your system and transferred.
- Manage your backup and data recovery options. Make sure your backups are generated automatically and you can recover your data that has been removed accidentally or on purpose. Find a reliable place to store your backups and make sure the malicious intender can’t get access to it.
- Set data removal options so that you can delete data permanently and be sure you delete it from everywhere else, even from backups. This will help you manage your data storage more effectively and eliminate the need to use cloud storage for the files you no longer need.
- Monitor your data input and output and track all the changes implemented. You will quickly notice any suspicious behaviour or simply keep track of your data processing.
There are two factors that can give you control over cloud – the first one is cloud provider technical capabilities and responsibility while the other one is the depth of your cloud expertise (or of your IT administrator). This means you will never manage your data confidently if your cloud platform lacks the vital features. In the same way, the choice of even the most technically advanced cloud service will be worthless if you don’t know how to operate it properly.
At this stage, look deeper into what your cloud provider offers and ask about compliance, data encryption and some relevant features, such as data tracking and access roles management.
Cloud is a very crowded place, but even here it’s possible to be the boss and control data with ease. Are you coping with your cloud management? If not, there must be something you need to change, be it cloud provider or your approach.
Beata Green is Director of HeadChannel Ltd. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.