NPC News
Using monitoring to reduce cloud risk

October 7th 2013

Cloud computing has become a reality for most organizations, as the majority of companies are either leveraging hosted services or planning on launching cloud initiatives in the near future. Despite this growing popularity, however, there is still a major concern regarding information protection and privacy in the cloud. While these worries have diminished during the past several years, they are still the chief inhibitor to most cloud projects.

InformationWeek recently highlighted this dilemma, revealing that slightly more than half of companies are worried about defects in the cloud technology. Other decision-makers fear that unauthorized users will acquire access to the environment or that the cloud will simply not perform as admirably as many pundits claim.

While these are viable concerns, decision-makers do not need to approach this perceived battle unarmed. Instead, InformationWeek suggested that companies implement sophisticated monitoring solutions that provide real-time visibility into the hosted landscape and the power to alert IT departments of suspicious activity.

Monitoring activity is critical in virtually all IT architectures, though it takes on a new importance in the cloud due to unknown users from third-party locations who will often have privileged access rights, InformationWeek noted. By having the ability to monitor all processes and transactions happening in the hosted landscape, decision-makers will be able to improve their ability to view, isolate and address unsafe practices.

Hybrid strategies may reduce cloud anxiety

InformationWeek stated that businesses that are still slightly hesitant to migrate sensitive information to a public cloud should consider embracing a hybrid strategy, which combines public and private cloud environments with traditional premise-based architectures. By using advanced monitoring tools, companies can sync all of their resources together and experience the maximum potential of every environment without encountering any unnecessary data protection challenges.

Still, some organizations are encountering challenges when embracing these hybrid mentalities. This was highlighted in a recent Zenoss study, which found that teams are still having trouble identifying, isolating and addressing issues in their next-generation infrastructures.

"As more organizations embrace hybrid IT, the task of monitoring and managing these environments becomes more complex," said Chris Smith, chief marketing officer at Zenoss. "Virtualization and cloud computing are adding layers of abstraction that make detecting and troubleshooting performance issues more difficult, and these findings show that downtime is still a huge issue."

Fortunately, companies are not obligated to traverse these challenging roads by themselves. Decision-makers should consider working with experienced managed security service providers that are aware of and experienced in dealing with the changes that are taking place in the IT landscape. By collaborating with managed IT services providers, organizations of all sizes can embrace the cloud and other innovative solutions without feeling like they are out of their league or do not have the adequate tools or skills needed to maintain strong security.

The business world is estimated to increasingly invest in the cloud during the next several years. Rather than shying away from the technology, executives should implement comprehensive monitoring tools and work with experienced third parties to ensure their cloud ventures are safe.

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