Emma Long, Senior Marketing Executive
Cloud has become the primary location globally for businesses to store data, with 84% of all enterprises globally using cloud services, and 48% of those stating that they use the cloud to store classified or important data. The agile nature of cloud-based IT can yield substantial benefits for enterprises seeking to operate more scalable, innovative and cost-effective businesses.
Despite the obvious benefits of cloud computing, there still seems to be significant resistance by some organisations. While budget limitations and legacy systems are often cited as obstacles in the journey to digital transformation, concerns around security consistently rank as the key inhibitor. But when choosing a private access gateway over public cloud, enterprises have discovered that security enables their cloud journey.
The demands of digital transformation
Digital transformation is essential in order to ensure businesses have the tools they need to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. Businesses with on-premises data centres are finding that the demands of both their customers and employees are necessitating greater adoption of cloud services. The cloud provides better employee and customer satisfaction through benefits such as quicker scalability, reliable access and cheaper upkeep, compared to on-premise facilities. Digital transformation enables businesses to increase their customer value, increase agility, create operational efficiencies, and thrive in an evolving world.
Covid-19 has also landed extra pressure on organisations to transform, with more than three in four (77%) organisations globally experiencing an increase in the number of disruptive attacks, such as ransomware, over the last 12 months.
However, not everything can be moved to the cloud. The reliance on public cloud access via the internet leaves 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.
A secure connection to the cloud
To realise the true benefits of cloud services, 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.
A physically robust data centre
When relying on employees to detect and resolve cyber security issues, threats can be easily missed. 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.
By placing your IT infrastructure in a dedicated colocation facility, enterprises can avail of 24/7 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.
Securing network access
Adopting a hybrid cloud and colocation model gives organisations strict control over access to workloads, end-to-end. No single person can ever have 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.
Some 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. No enterprise can be confident in the integrity of its data without strong access controls, which is why colocation can provide a safer option.
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, for many experiences 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. Using Interxion’s colocation facilities to house your IT infrastructure, enterprises can build a hybrid or multi-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.