Cloud: To Adopt or Not to Adopt?

Many discussions within IT departments revolve around whether to adopt cloud as a delivery model. Cloud adoption can help satisfy a strong demand for cost optimization, but it also imposes constraints due to local and global regulations. Cloud use also introduces a host of security concerns.

No Easy Answers

First, it is important for IT teams to determine whether the organization does, in fact, use any cloud services. The easy answer may be that the company uses no authorized cloud services, but this is insufficient in today’s complicated and interconnected IT landscape.

A configuration management database can be helpful in understand the relationships between various services. However, this requires a wide, accurate and complete set of attributes and relationships, and is often inadequate on its own.

What if an authorized service houses portions of its workloads in the cloud? You may be able to control it when the service is adopted, but the service, or some library in the service, can always change sometime thereafter. A complete change management process can prevent this problem, but it’s important to consider the speed and complexity of changes and transactions.

A pure configuration management database lacks visibility into the security risk of a given application. It is, of course, possible to consider the risk as an attribute of configuration items, but this is not very practical.

Enforcing Cloud Security

The endpoint offers another layer of complexity. If the organization has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, how can it be sure these devices do not access cloud services? This can be controlled to an extent by establishing and enforcing security policies, but these should leave room for future changes.

IT professionals can use cloud security tools to detect the use of cloud applications, including shadow IT. This service enables IT teams to correlate cloud activity with employees, identify suspicious activity, and leverage analytics and risk reports while responding to priority alerts.

Whether your organization decides to adopt cloud as a delivery model, the right cloud security solution can provide the necessary visibility to sustain your long-term plans.

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Domenico Raguseo

Technical Sales and Solutions Leader in Europe, IBM Security

Domenico Raguseo is currently Manager of Technical Sales in Europe for the Security Systems Division. He has over 15 years of management experience in different areas. Domenico also cooperates with several Universities by teaching Service Management, Cloud Computing. Since 2010 Domenico is member of Educational Scientific Council for the Master in IT Governance at the University of Rome La Sapienza (http://w3.uniroma1.it/mastersicurezza/index.php/master-itgov/direzione). Domenico got in IBM a certification as IBM Master Inventor for the multiple patents and publications in several disciplines (Business Processes, ROI, Messages and Collaborations, Networking). Finally, he is speaker on Information Security Management, Service Management, Cloud computing, Energy Optimization and Smarter Planet in several national and international events.