Ever since cloud computing first began to gain traction as a mainstream IT resource, cloud security has been a popular topic of discussion. For quite a while, business leaders were wary of adopting cloud services specifically because they were perceived to be less secure than legacy alternatives. As time has passed, most IT decision-makers have come to realize that, with the right strategies and tools, cloud computing has the potential to meet or even surpass on-premise IT security. However, it is also true that cloud solutions can indeed pose a risk when not paired with these precautionary measures.
Cloud governance must play a key role in this capacity. Governance is essential for ensuring that robust cloud security policies are in place and proving effective throughout the organization. Without sufficient focus in this area, there is a real risk that an otherwise sound approach to cloud security may still leave the company susceptible to data theft, loss or exposure.
As TechTarget contributor and industry expert David Linthicum recently highlighted, though, cloud governance is a fairly complex issue. In order for firms to tackle this topic successfully, they need to develop a nuanced understanding of the subject, he argued. Alternatively, the challenging nature of this issue may suggest further evidence of the need to partner with an industry-leading, proven leader in the cloud governance field.
Linthicum explained that there are a number of different levels inherent to cloud governance. To embrace an effective strategy in this area, every level needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, many enterprises struggle to fully understand the nature of the varying strata.
Specifically, Linthicum pointed to three distinct layers that all cloud governance plans need to address.
First, there's service-level governance, also known as API governance. Effective solutions in this area, according to Linthicum, will ensure that any employee attempting to gain access to a corporate cloud service, be it public or private, will need to pass through a centralized mechanism that will check and confirm user authorization. This ensures that cloud services are accessible only to those employees who have previously established permission.
Second, there's data-level governance. A growing concern, this is also arguably the most common and well-understood aspect of overall cloud governance strategies. As with service governance, Linthicum emphasized that controls are needed to guarantee that data and data storage systems are available solely to the appropriate personnel.
Finally, platform-level governance concerns the cloud platform itself. The writer noted that these policies should feature automation that optimizes provisioning and deprovisioning of cloud resources.
As Linthicum pointed out, cloud governance is not solely a security issue – it is also directly related to compliance. In order to demonstrate that they are following all necessary privacy and related regulations, companies need to have robust, visible governance strategies in place.
This should not downplay the connection between governance and security, however. Without robust governance policies and procedures, organizations will not be able to know with complete certainty who is or is not accessing their hosted assets and services. This greatly increases the risk of a data breach or other security incident, regardless of the other protective measures in place.
Considering the complexity of most cloud platforms – including their users, applications, data and more – governance becomes an incredibly challenging task. Organizations eager to take advantage of the cloud without grappling with this challenge must therefore look for cloud partners that can confidently take over these responsibilities.
Datapipe is among the leaders in this area. Datapipe has years of experience offering clients comprehensive cloud governance services, utilizing advanced analytics and established processes to develop unique, customized solutions for clients in every industry. This allows firms to embrace the cloud enthusiastically, future-proofing their IT for years to come.