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Close Your IT Security Gaps with the Cloud

From early computer worms — anyone remember the Morris worm — to today’s headline-making cyberattacks, the information technology security field has had to contend with a lot. There’s no sign of things easing up. In fact, many contend that given the increasing sophistication and relentlessness of cyberattacks, they can’t be prevented. The emphasis now must be on how an organization responds once it has been breached to minimize damage and keep business going.  That’s not entirely correct.

It’s true that businesses today need to be resilient. Tested disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) plans are essential to ensuring companies struck by manmade or natural disasters can minimize or eliminate data loss, continue operations, and return to “normal” mode as soon as possible. But there are also many things companies can do to help keep the cyber villains away — or at least minimize their effects.

Recognize IT Security Deficiencies

Many organizations simply don’t have strong, comprehensive IT security plans in place. They may have various security mechanisms, but often they are “add-on’s” — security devices or technologies added “after the fact” rather than integrated into operations right from the start.  Or, they don’t have IT staff with the requisite security expertise to stay on top of and implement the latest security technologies and best practices.  Still others lack executive and budget support for keeping pace with fast-changing security threats.

Then there’s the matter of “insider threats,” one of the leading causes of security issues.  Companies too often focus solely on security technologies rather than also implementing comprehensive, continuous training to make their employees the foundation of their data security strategies.

Making matters worse is the lack of incident response plans and tested disaster recovery plans. Even the best DR plan will do no good if it hasn’t been tested to ensure it works when it needs to work.

Look to the Cloud for Answers

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to bolster IT security is to team up with a cloud services provider (CSP). Moving applications and data to a third-party cloud service puts some of the responsibility for IT security on the service provider, including specific aspects of the IT infrastructure solutions deployed to help ensure their security and integrity.

While your organization is still responsible for your applications, data, and any equipment you own and collocate with a CSP, and you’re still responsible for training your employees, the CSP is responsible for the security of its services’ compute, networking, and storage resources, as well as for the supporting data center and cloud infrastructure. The CSP wants and needs your business, so it’s in its best interest to invest in and maintain the high-level security needed to keep your assets safe, you happy, and the CSP’s own reputation intact.  That includes rigorous, leading-edge cloud security and managed security services that can help create both a depth and breadth of data protection.

CSPs that go the extra mile by also investing in annual, independent audits to ensure their compliance with the stringent security requirements of various legislative acts, industry standards, and regulations — such as HIPAA/HITECH and PCI DSS — are even more likely to have strong security protocols, processes, and technologies in place.

Do your due diligence and thoroughly investigate any CSP you consider. Ask to see its compliance documentation. Speak to references. Inquire about its cloud security mechanisms. Also ask about the other services it offers that could help fill the gaps in your overall IT security and BC/DR plans, including cloud-based DR.

Free Webinar May 10

You can learn more about cloud security during US Signal’s free one-hour webinar on Wednesday, May 10, at 2:00 p.m. “Control the Creep: Streamline Data Security and Compliance by Sharing the Work Load.” The webinar will cover the evolution of IT security and discuss how cloud services can ensure you have all your “security” bases covered. Click here to register to attend this webinar.

If you miss the webinar, don’t worry. Check back after May 10. We’ll have it posted in our Resources section. Or, contact US Signal and let our solution engineers help you devise a customized IT security and DR/BC plan to meet your organization’s specific needs.

About the author

Aaron Shaver

Aaron Shaver, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, leads US Signal’s long-term technology vision, and is responsible for strategic customer partnerships, university collaboration, industry thought leadership and advanced technical solutions.

Prior to joining US Signal, Aaron served as the Executive Director of Information Management for Spectrum Pennock Health Services. He has also lead research and development for US Signal, establishing the MPLS, Carrier Ethernet and Cloud practices.  Aaron has a 20-year background in telecommunications, data center design and information security.

Aaron holds a doctorate in information assurance and computer science and a Master of Science in Information Security.  His research focused on enterprise disaster recovery and mitigation.​