Security is quoted often as one of the main inhibitors in the adoption of cloud computing. A cloud security policy focuses on managing users, protecting data, and securing virtual machines. So is the cloud really insecure? Should companies only place low risk workloads on the cloud?
It surprises some that cloud can actually be more secure than a traditional IT environment. A traditional IT environment requires the use of many different devices and tools to manage the infrastructure. Cloud on the other hand, is managed centrally. If there is a well managed cloud environment, the security can be more efficient. Cloud providers also have implemented a logging and auditing system that traditional enterprises can’t perform themselves. With this centralized security management, a provider has the ability to deliver security control to all of the company’s assets.
Even though a cloud can be more secure than a traditional IT infrastructure, there remain concerns surrounding security:
- If my cloud provider exits the market, what happens to all of my data? Is it still accessible?
- Because my information is available over the web, is it more vulnerable?
- When I terminate a contract with a cloud provider, will my data be deleted, and can I be assured it is removed?
These are valid concerns, and with 40% of enterprises planning on using the cloud, they need to be addressed.
Harold Moss, the IBM CTO of Cloud Security Strategy, has spoken on how cloud is fundamentally more secure than traditional IT environments. He says cloud vendors are able to invest greater resources in security for their servers. In a traditional environment, security can be “bolted on” after the fact whereas in a cloud environment, it is integrated throughout the whole infrastructure. Cloud represents a centralized model that allows for higher quality without incurring high costs.
In the current economic environment, there is constantly the need to do more with less. In the video “What is Cloud Computing,” IBM's Julie Tourre, North America inside sales cloud service sales leader, and IBM's David Wong, global cloud computing marketing strategist, discuss the increasing challenges in the IT environment.
With the recent publicity on security breaches, companies are looking for ways to reduce exposure to risk while still finding sources of growth and innovation. The cloud is a solution to address these challenges. Cloud computing provides end users with the right tools to deliver services where and when they need them. It also has the ability to increase agility in the delivery of IT with its broad spectrum of services. Services that were delivered in weeks can now be delivered in minutes. Cloud computing also helps drive cost reduction, which can be a huge motivator for companies. This cost reduction comes from increased server utilization and automation capabilities that weren’t previously available.
The benefits of the cloud have been recognized by many and companies have started to work with IBM to cut their costs and increase growth. IBM has a three step systematic approach for cloud computing adoption including plan, build and deliver.
Planning involves helping clients build strategies after a deep understanding the company’s current IT infrastructure. In this phase, IBM looks at the elements that a client wants to achieve with the objective of assisting them figure out what makes the most sense for their organization.
Delivering is the final step, which involves clients using IBM services so they don’t have to build a cloud of their own. This service management portion can be seen as the most important because it allows IBM to monitor, provision, automate, and meter a client’s IT infrastructure.
The cloud is unique because it is more of an evolution than something new. Through IBM’s process, clients can easily integrate the cloud into their existing IT infrastructures. IBM offers the ability to help any company, anywhere.
In another video, “How to get started with Cloud Computing,” Julie Tourre speaks with Pete Czornohus, Business Development Executive for IBM Cloud Solutions Group. They discuss various cloud approaches. There is the waterfall approach, which means looking at a company’s requirements, going right into the build phase and then pushing it out into delivery mode. Then there is the agile approach, which involves taking a smaller subset of what the client is trying to do, quickly releasing and then assessing where it is. With this, a client can expand the infrastructure as they go. IBM has the service offerings and technology available to help build a cloud for any client.
Depending on where you are in your cloud strategy and progression, IBM can be there every step of the way.