Security needn't stall your move to the cloud

Enterprises are under growing pressure to adopt cloud services, but without built-in security their cloud strategy could open them up to new threats. In this blog Patrick Lastennet, Enterprise Business Development Director at Interxion, discusses how Hybrid Cloud combines the highest level of physical and network security to accelerate cloud adoption without sacrificing performance.

The cloud is now ubiquitous in the enterprise world. By mid-2018 60% of enterprise workloads will be running in the cloud. The agile nature of cloud-based IT can yield substantial benefits for enterprises seeking to operate more scalable, innovative and cost-effective businesses.

Yet, significant reticence still exists in fully embracing the cloud’s potential. While the limitations of budget and legacy systems are clearly an issue, concerns around security consistently rank as a key inhibitor. By choosing a private access gateway over public cloud, enterprises are discovering that security needn’t be a barrier to cloud adoption, but can instead enable their cloud journey.

The demands of digital transformation

As enterprises compete to win crucial competitive advantage through digital transformation, the cloud has clear appeal. There are few departments, systems or applications that could not benefit from cloud technology. Indeed many of those businesses still reliant on on-premise data centres are finding the demands of both their customers and employees necessitate greater adoption of cloud services.

However, not everything can be moved to the cloud. The reliance on public cloud access via the Internet puts any and all workloads at risk from malicious activity, such as DDoS attacks, phishing attempts and malware. While security enhancements exist in the form of patching software or VPNs, these often hamper bandwidth and network performance, failing to satisfy the balance of security and performance that enterprises need. The fear of falling short on either measure places a roadblock on the journey to the cloud.

As secure connection to the cloud

To realise the true benefits of the cloud, it must sit at the heart of an enterprise’s IT strategy. There is no single path or model for cloud adoption and so it’s incumbent on each business to define how the cloud integrates across the business. As the enterprise adopts more cloud-based resources, services and applications, a piecemeal approach with bolted-on security precautions can negate the very benefits the cloud offers.

By combining Hybrid Cloud with data centre colocation, instead of linking to the cloud from your own data centre via public Internet, your data is housed in a dedicated location with secure, private access to cloud gateways. Your data therefore does not touch the public Internet, eradicating the risk of data interference while also giving the performance benefits of high-density connectivity.

Securing network access

Another vital part of a cloud strategy pertains to who can access the networks. No enterprise can be confident in the integrity of its data without strong access controls. A prevailing cloud myth is that by moving data to the cloud, you lose control over access. In reality, the converse is often true, as in-house teams struggle to consistently enforce controls over who can gain access to networks and applications. These weak controls can leave the door open to hackers and other malicious actors.

Adopting a Hybrid Cloud and colocation model means having strict controls over who can access workloads end-to-end. No single person has the power to access on their own, requiring multiple checks before they can access encryption keys, log into the portal and provision services. This brings clarity on who has legitimate access, and can help identify any suspicious or unauthorised activity.

A physically robust data centre

In keeping data secure, threats can be easily missed when enterprises rely on their own staff to detect and resolve issues, since security isn’t their core business. The cost implications of having round the clock on-site security, and in-house IT staff available at all times to pick up alerts or nascent threats would be impracticable and prohibitively expensive.

The physical security of on-premise data centres can vary wildly depending on the time of day, and even who’s manning reception. Conducting the right identity checks isn’t easy when personnel are continually coming and going. It only requires one person to slip in unnoticed to tamper with or steal data.

With colocated Hybrid Cloud, unauthorised access is nearly impossible. Having cloud servers housed in a dedicated location means they are staffed 24/7 by security experts tasked with ensuring proper checks are carried out. Multiple layers of defence and rigidly enforced protocols such as identity checks and biometric security means no one is able to enter or leave without authorisation. Additional security measures, such as perimeter boundaries, CCTV surveillance, alarm systems and locked cabinets only contribute to creating an extremely robust physical security environment.

Balancing security and performance

Security has become a full-time job. Ever-increasing data requirements and diminishing budgets make it virtually impossible for any enterprise to manage cloud services in-house with unfaltering security. The paradox many experience is that greater emphasis placed on security comes at the expense of performance, which was the main driver for moving to the cloud.

Interxion is uniquely positioned to assist your cloud journey due to its secure, private access points to major cloud platforms, which takes public Internet challenges out of the equation. Adopting Interxion’s Hybrid Cloud model, enterprises can build a cloud strategy that combines physical and network security with robust encryption key management to mitigate threats without inhibiting performance.

It’s the combination of performance and security that’s will define the enterprises best able to capitalise on the cloud’s immense potential.

Learn more about Interxion’s Key Guardian service to see how colocated Hybrid Cloud can help your organisation overcome today’s security challenges and take a fearless approach to cloud adoption.