Working in the cloud can be risky business but it doesn’t have to be a show stopper. What you have to understand is that there’s risk with anything you do and the cloud is no different. You have to manage your risk with intelligent security measures and accept a certain amount of risk that comes with doing any kind of business online. Risk is part of doing business–in the cloud or not.
IBM makes several suggestions for you to consider as you ponder migrating parts of your business to the cloud.
One of the best pieces of advice given is to realize that using cloud services means your data is in the hands of a third party. And that third party might not be geographically close to your brick and mortar business. The way to mitigate that risk is to negotiate a smart contract with your provider. Build service level agreements and security clauses into the contract that protect your data and compensate you for losses.
Some cloud providers offer enhanced security. It’s wise to use it but don’t stop there–hire a firm that specializes in assessing and remediating security problems. There will always be a level of acceptable risk. No one can guarantee 100 percent security for your data. If they do, you should reconsider your relationship with that firm or third party.
You should also be cautious of anyone who uses terminology that’s too technical or too obscure for you to understand. Find someone inside or outside of your organization who can accurately translate between the technobabble and plain, understandable language.
The cloud isn’t all bad nor is it a smoldering cauldron of security breaches waiting to take your data assets and spread them throughout the Internet like a Sunday brunch buffet. The cloud is computers, cables, routers, switches, operating systems, applications, and data. Additionally, it’s the people who maintain that cloud hardware and software. And it’s you and your technical partner working together to minimize risk and impact to your business. But more importantly, it’s about bringing your business to as many customers and at the lowest price point possible. It’s about expanding your reach and your customer base.
“IBM is an industry leader in IT security. IBM and IBM Business Partners offer a complete package to fit the needs of midmarket organizations. From cloud computing and big data management to mobile technology and social networking, IBM security offerings allow midsize companies to assess, plan, deploy, and use effective security solutions for their businesses.
According to analysts, no other company has the depth and breadth of IBM’s knowledge and experience for security solutions. Few service providers offer end-to-end identity and access management solutions that can address various requirements with a complete set of solution elements that encompass hardware, software, design and implementation, and management services.”
As someone who needs to protect your midsize business, security is important but often elusive and “black box-like.” Your business needs to find new ways to provide security for data, mobile, and cloud computing environments. For more information on how to acquire the industry’s best and most acclaimed security solutions, connect to: http://ibm.com/midmarket/us/en/it-security.html and download the IBM X-Force 2012 Trend and Risk report.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.