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Enterprises are Embracing Cloud Security

ByJamison West,
business.com writer
|
Jan 09, 2017
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> Technology
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Find out why and how the industry is evolving to maintain that interest.

The cloud is becoming the place to be for enterprises.

Enterprises are moving to the cloud as security concerns are remedied and the value of cloud services are realized by businesses. Traditionally, enterprises have been more heavily scaled on the Microsoft infrastructure than small and midsize businesses (SMB). In the past many SMBs worked primarily with third parties and non-Microsoft technologies. That trend is now changing as larger providers develop offerings catered to SMBs. However, vendors still recognize the demand for enterprise-level security and services and the industry is evolving to suit the needs of a wider range of companies.

Technology Business Research predicts the global public cloud revenue will increase from $80 billion in 2015 to $167 billion by 2020. The sections below outline why enterprises are showing increasing favor for cloud technology and how the industry is evolving to suit this rising demand.

 

Why are enterprises embracing the cloud?

1. Cost

Moving to the cloud can provide a number of benefits to businesses, but a driving factor in rapid adoption of the cloud are the cost savings the technology can facilitate. Cloud services allow businesses to switch from a capital expenditures (CAPEX) to an operating expenses (OPEX) model of spending. Whereas before, companies were required to invest in their own data centers, buy software and licenses, and manage the scaling and upgrading of software, they can now clearly budget the cost of cloud technologies simply by determining the number of users they need to accommodate.

2. Mobility

Today’s workforce is already relying heavily on mobile technologies, and companies are encountering a relentless push for mobile capabilities within the work place. Real-time business and real-time technology go hand in hand and availability and flexibility are key for an enterprise looking to remain relevant and profitable. Anytime, anywhere access is necessary for a business to effectively communicate and serve their clients in today’s world. This mobility also allows executives to easily access business-critical data, analytics, and reports to make real-time business decisions. The fluid transference of information from one environment to another enables an organization’s employees to work more efficiently and with less disruption.  

3. Productivity and collaboration

Mobility is one contributing factor to enterprise productivity, but the collaborative features included in many cloud offerings removes communication barriers that often inhibit the productivity of employees. Remote access to important information and the ability to simultaneously edit documents in real-time are just a few of the ways cloud products are enhancing the workflow of enterprises across the globe.

4. Security

Cloud service providers, especially those larger in size, often offer businesses a computing environment with more advanced security and technology than a company would be able to develop on its own. Cyber threats are constantly evolving and cloud service providers (CSP) generally have a team of experts working to predict, identify and address such threats before they can affect the security of a company’s network. Some cloud technologies give administrators the ability to granularly manage the flow of information both within and outside of the business. Access controls, document rights management capabilities, mobile device management and business intelligence analytics can help companies predict where security threats may exist and address the vulnerability in a timely, effective manner.

 

What are the main enterprise concerns regarding the cloud?

Of course, there will always be questions about the reliability, stability and cost of cloud technology, but the main concern lingering among enterprises is the security of their information and network in the cloud. The primary security concerns center upon the following topics.

  • BYOD
  • Wiping devices
  • Data breaches

BYOD

Bring your own device (BYOD) involves the use of employee personal devices to store and share business information. BYOD has become an undeniable trend throughout the working world and companies are facing challenges with monitoring the integration and security of these devices within the business.

When a device is lost or stolen, or an employee leaves the company, an enterprise must have not only a written policy for handling the situation but the technical capabilities to selectively wipe the technology of all sensitive information before a breach occurs. Managing BYOD entails two major components:

  1. Isolating corporate data from personal content to prevent information from being stored in the wrong place
  2. Being able to explicitly wipe corporate data from the individual’s device while being cognizant of their personal content

Unfortunately, a great number of data breaches are unintentional and are caused primarily by a lack of end-user education. An Intel Security report revealed that more than 43 percent of data breaches were caused by an internal source within the company and only half of these incidents were intentional, malicious attempts to compromise the company’s information.

CSPs have helped remedy this problem not only with their technical monitoring capabilities but with their mobile device management systems. These issues, as well as the number of law suits that have occurred because of conflicts concerning device-wipe policies have prompted CSPs to develop technologies capable of selectively deleting business-critical information from an employee’s device when necessary.

Encrypting emails

Businesses that are responsible for adhering to specific compliance standards, such as HIPAA, are likely accountable for the safe transference of information over email. Cloud service providers often deliver offerings that allow businesses administrators to set automated encryption policies. Such technology works to identify emails and documents in need of encryption and apply the code to the content with no effort on behalf of the end-user. The key to these solutions is the ability to encrypt only what’s needed.

Document sharing and privacy

Every business has sensitive files that could be detrimental to the reputation and bottom line of the organization if they were to be found in the wrong hands. Document rights management can be made more efficient and easy to manage via cloud solutions such as Microsoft Azure. Such services enable companies to share information outside of their organization without the recipient being able to copy or forward the content to a third-party. Enterprises often want to enhance security, but they are unable to cease communication with outside parties without affecting the health of the business. Email encryption and document management services help companies achieve this balance without sacrificing productivity.

How are cloud services evolving to suit enterprises?

The cloud services industry is progressively integrating consulting and advisory services into their offerings. The greatest challenge affecting the adoption of the cloud among enterprises is the end-user implementation of the product across an organization. There’s extensive knowledge, education and expertise necessary to make the technology easy for users to understand. The industry is always changing and businesses need to be informed regarding the latest technology innovations to successfully develop strategies around integrating these tools.

Essentially, automation and education are going to be driving factors in molding the cloud services industry. The demand for an easy way to implement cloud solutions is apparent in the rapid adoption of software such as Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). EMS is Microsoft’s fastest growing enterprise SKU in the company’s history, which highlights the enterprise awareness of security risks present in today’s computing environments. Experts also predict one-tier providers will begin relying less on third-party vendors to provide services such as encryption and document rights management, and will instead begin integrating these features into their own offerings.

The goal of larger providers is to develop a single package that can supply all of the storage, security and collaboration an enterprise needs. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are the three largest cloud solution providers in today’s market and these companies have already began weaving more advanced features into their cloud offerings. This shows how the cloud market is evolving to make technology much easier to understand and deploy.

 Photo credit: shutterstock.com/g/estherpoon

 
Jamison West
Jamison West
See Jamison West's Profile
Jamison West is the president and founder of Arterian, a subsidiary of Aldridge. West is a contributing member of the Aldridge leadership team and services as the company’s Microsoft Cloud visionary. His primary responsibilities include managing Aldridge’s strategic partnership with cloud vendors and business development for Arterian.
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