Five Questions to Ask Yourself About the Security of Your Cloud Workloads

By 2020, 90 percent of enterprises will be on the hybrid cloud. Even though a move to the cloud is now inevitable, few organizations have a comprehensive grasp of how to secure it. This is especially challenging when organizations are on multiple cloud environments from multiple service providers, since each has its own set of native security controls.

Five Keys to Securing Hybrid Cloud Workloads

It’s important to consider some basic security principles when deploying hybrid cloud solutions. Here are five areas where you need to ask the right questions to determine the security of your cloud workloads.

Read the white paper: 10 essential elements for a secure and compliant business operation

1. Visibility and Control

Do you have end-to-end visibility across all enterprise assets in a cloud service provider’s (CSP) platforms and on-premises environments? Is this visibility available on a single pane of glass? Do you have visibility into your CSP’s performance and reporting of security controls?

The shared security model on the cloud has clear expectations of the customer and the cloud service provider. A security framework that delineates roles and responsibilities between the customer and the CSP is vital to securing the migrated workload.

2. Policy Enforcement

How will you ensure that the same security and regulatory policy is enforced on-premises as well as across your multiple clouds, even as new workloads are added to the cloud? This is a complex task, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services and health care.

3. Data Protection and Compliance

What is your process to discover and secure your critical data in the face of changing regulations? This involves the ability to identify critical data — your crown jewels — and then ensure that it is secure and compliant.

One notable example of the changing regulatory landscape is the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will affect most global companies that have payment card industry (PCI) data in the cloud starting in May 2018. Beyond the GDPR, many other compliance regulations impact data security.

4. Shadow IT

How will you discover and eliminate shadow IT and shadow data in your organization? Given the ease at which employees can stand up cloud workloads, it is imperative to have a program that discovers these shadow workloads and remediates them as they are found.

5. Cloud Speed

Last but not least, is your security program implemented at cloud speed? Any employee with a credit card can set up a cloud workload in a matter of seconds. If these workloads are not protected at the same speed as soon as they are created, your organization can be left vulnerable to breaches and leaks.

Enabling Rapid Innovation

To ensure a secure and compliant cloud program, enterprises need to ask themselves these hard questions and ensure they have a plan to address each. Managed security services providers (MSSPs) can help enterprises find solutions for these questions and other challenges associated with securing the cloud. You can enable your business to continue to innovate rapidly without worrying about security or compliance.

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Michael Sanders

Senior Manager, Global Client Services, Security Services

Mike Sanders currently leads strategies to drive success for IBM’s customers in applying technology and services...