Not many enterprises jump into the cloud with both feet first. A slower, more piecemeal approach to cloud adoption is more common, with organizations starting out with one cloud service, then adding another, and perhaps another after that and so on, with previous successes encouraging further adoption. This is without a doubt the most sensible way to introduce new cloud tools and services, replace legacy applications, cut infrastructure costs, and consolidate the enterprise data environment. But when piecemeal cloud adoption leads to piecemeal cloud data security, problems can arise.
The problems arise from the tendency to view each newly adopted cloud application as its own separate entity and to subsequently apply security tools and controls to each application in isolation as well, leading to siloed cloud data security that opens the doors for compliance violations and security breaches. Let’s take a look at why this happens and how organizations can avoid it.
How cloud data security silos take shape
The enterprise cloud environment these days is often a multi-cloud environment. Cloud adoption is driving innovation in the enterprise, as our Q1 2015 Global Cloud Data Security Report shows: in addition to cloud-based business intelligence, CRM, collaboration, email, and file sync and share applications, organizations are leveraging the cloud to build out custom services for their employees and customers. And some of those services demand more security than others. For example; a big data platform storing and processing anonymized data will not demand the same level of data protection as a portal for the uploading of sensitive medical files. In such a heterogeneous environment, it can be tempting to take disparate applications’ disparate security needs as a call for disparate security solutions.
Why siloed cloud data security puts information at risk
Where the siloed approach falls short is in the complexity it introduces. If each application is burdened by its own set of security policies and there is no centralized way to automate and oversee the application of those policies, vulnerabilities may fall through the cracks or sensitive data be overlooked. And make no mistake about it, today’s expanding enterprise clouds handle too much sensitive data to allow for mistakes. For both compliance and security reasons, all sensitive or legally protected corporate data must be appropriately protected wherever it goes in the cloud, using all available tools. That data and those tools are numerous, making coordinating data security across siloed clouds a serious challenge.
The solution to siloed cloud data security
Avoiding the errors of siloed cloud data security demands a single, unified platform from which administrators can secure all of the organization’s cloud investments. This platform should provide a robust set of data security tools, including visibility and monitoring, threat prevention, data security, and privacy and compliance. It enables enterprises to enforce integrated policy controls through advanced data protection, anomaly detection and controls, and cloud risk intelligence. Centralizing cloud data security with this platform will significantly reduce the risk of mistakes and unprotected data entering the enterprise cloud. It will also reduce the workload required of IT and security staff, since administrators will have a single point of contact and more streamlined way to interact with cloud data security tools.
There’s no way to put the cloud genie back in the bottle, nor should businesses want to. Cloud computing has proven transformative to the enterprise, and new innovations continue to emerge, bringing organizations better ways to do business every day. But the cloud transformation demands a transformation of security as well.
Download our report, “Global Cloud Data Security Report Q1 2015,” today. And learn more about the current state of enterprise cloud adoption and the security and compliance challenges that cloud adopters are facing.