Don’t Set It and Forget It: The Benefits of a Cloud Monitoring Strategy

Liz Alton

If you’re thinking about embracing cloud computing but you’re concerned about security, you’re in good company. Cloud computing offers businesses a variety of benefits, from reducing latency to providing access to data when and where it’s needed. When used strategically, it can increase flexibility, reduce costs, and make it easier for companies to scale on-demand.

However, security remains one of the biggest considerations when choosing cloud computing. Here’s a closer look at how secure the cloud really is, and why ongoing monitoring can be your secret weapon to help keep your data protected.

Cloud Security By the Numbers

Just how big is cloud computing? And how secure is it? Let’s dive into the numbers:

  • Half of the world’s data is stored in the cloud. 
  • 68% of IT executives believe that misconfigured cloud security settings are their biggest risk. 
  • 58% of IT executives report being concerned about unauthorized cloud access.
  • 70% of companies with data stored in the public cloud experienced at least one data breach in the past year.
  • Other risks include a lack of cloud security infrastructure, account hijacking, insider threats, and insecure interfaces and APIs. 

Cloud Security Settings and Support

Even when you partner with a cloud provider that has a good track record and strong security setting, it’s important to remember that there are multiple layers to a strong security plan. One of the benefits of working with a trusted cloud provider is that they have extensive, multi-layered security protocols in place. Most cloud providers also employ an army of people whose job it is to ensure that security issues don’t happen—and when they do, that they’re quickly resolved. For many firms, having access to that level of on-site technology and talent simply isn’t financially feasible. The security support is a valuable asset when you’re considering whether to do business with a cloud provider.

The second puzzle piece that needs to be taken into consideration, when storing data in the cloud, is the security settings. Maximizing your security requires making the most of the best tools a provider offers. For example, Microsoft Azure has a variety of security features available, such as its security center, compliance tools, and certifications. Whether you’re shoring up access management or complying with specific industry guidelines, it’s important to maximize cloud security solutions and settings to help protect your data. Yet it’s also critical to recognize that these foundational steps are just the start.

The Future of Cloud Security Is Visibility and Monitoring 

Once the foundation of your cloud security has been laid, it’s important to develop a plan for ongoing monitoring. With the threat landscape and the way cloud products are constantly evolving, real-time intelligence is essential. The way to think about this from a strategic and technological standpoint is: Do you have the cloud visibility you need? 

The importance of visibility can’t be overstated. In fact, CSO Online notes: “Unsanctioned apps are essentially shadow IT—applications employees use without permission or support of IT or security. Any app that does not meet corporate guidelines for security represents a risk that the security team might be unaware of. Sanctioned app misuse might be an authorized person using an approved app or an external threat actor using stolen credentials. Security teams need to be able to tell the difference between valid and invalid users by detecting out-of-norm behaviors.”

In other words, the real issues with cloud computing begin to arise when you try to “set it and forget it.” Cloud computing security isn’t a passive activity. You need a proactive plan in place that gives you visibility into who is accessing your data, how it’s being used, and whether there are any activities that violate policy or are out of the ordinary and require additional investigation.

Ongoing Cloud Monitoring Services

Ongoing cloud monitoring solutions and services can help you rein in security risks. Automated tools that leverage policy-based rules and AI can constantly scan your data and environment for a variety of known and emerging threats. Cloud monitoring services allow you to track and respond to potential security issues in real-time. A variety of technology solutions can be deployed by your team or used as part of a robust monitoring package provided by a partner.

A managed cloud services provider like Connection can also help you ensure that you have the human capital and cloud security expertise to quickly respond to any threat. When an anomaly is detected—such as a threat file within your data or an unauthorized access attempt—it can be immediately investigated and remediated. Cloud monitoring partners can also ensure that your migrations are completed efficiently, and that security settings maximize the benefit of a provider’s tools to further minimize the chance of ongoing risks. Monitoring solutions can also be paired with backup and disaster recovery for another layer of support.

If you’re ready to move your data to the cloud, take the security considerations seriously. As more and more information moves to the cloud, it’s becoming an increasingly profitable target for data breaches and other cybercrimes. However, today’s leading cloud providers offer an array of tools and settings that can provide a secure foundation. When combined with ongoing monitoring services or solutions, you can gain the full benefits of cloud computing while knowing that your company’s most valuable asset—its data—remains protected and secure.

Liz Alton is a B2B technology and digital marketing writer and content strategist. She has worked with a variety of brands including Google, Twitter, Adobe, Oracle, and HP, and written for publications including Forbes. She is a regular contributor to Connected, Connection’s official blog.