Cloud computing offers extraordinary flexibility and scalability. To address an organization’s specific goals, however, the architecture of a cloud project requires careful planning and attention to key details.
Security in the Cloud
Data security remains a major concern for businesses today. While cloud computing presents opportunities for better security, it also comes with risks.
Some of the most common security issues companies face in the cloud include:
- Disasters like power outages or flooding in data centers.
Thinking broadly about security often benefits companies planning a cloud migration or build, notes Narendra Sahoo, director of VISTA InfoSec. Consider both a core security strategy that protects the current and future needs of the build. Future needs might include software updates or the changing of security protocols as they become obsolete.
One of the best ways to address security questions is to treat risk management as an ongoing process of performing risk assessments, implementing mitigation strategies and using best practices for risk control. Incorporating these steps into a cloud build plan can help address security issues.
What Do We Need As a Service?
Cloud services today are roughly grouped into three categories:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
- Platform as a Service (PaaS).
- Software as a Service (SaaS).
“... as a service” refers to the way in which cloud resources are provided to businesses and individual users, write Siobhan Climer and Mike Czerniak at Mindsight. Whether an organization chooses infrastructure, platforms, software or any combination of the three as a service will depend on the goals and purposes of the cloud build or cloud migration.
IaaS offers access to computing and storage tools for an organization, saving money on hardware like servers. It does not, however, offer full-fledged applications or the tools to create them.
PaaS offers a full-fledged, cloud-based application development platform. The platform provides the tools necessary for an organization to create its own applications. PaaS and IaaS services are often combined, giving companies the ability to launch new applications quickly, without having to invest in costly hardware or software infrastructure.
SaaS is one of the most familiar as-a-service models today. It offers access to complete software applications, often through a web browser. These tools are ready for teams to use for word processing, spreadsheets, project management and a host of other tasks.
Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds
Both security and “... as a service” questions connect with the question of whether one’s cloud use should be public, private or hybrid.
- In a public cloud, anyone with an internet connection can access the public cloud data. Logins and other security may be required, but the data itself is not directly under the control of its creators.
- In a private cloud, the data’s creators also own the server used to store the data. They have direct control over its security.
- In a hybrid cloud, the organization avails itself of public cloud resources for some tasks while using a private cloud server to manage data and applications related to other tasks.
Public cloud use works well for businesses that need cost-efficient, accessible and easily scalable tools and options, writes Todd Piper, chief information officer at Service Express. When more security is required, however, private or hybrid cloud may be a better choice.
Creating an Architectural Diagram
Once your organization has identified its key security needs and how it can use cloud options to address its needs while protecting sensitive data, creating a cloud architecture diagram can help your team understand the planned cloud project.
The architecture diagram “provides an overall view of the physical deployment of the software system and its evolution roadmap,” Ding Yi at Alibaba Cloud writes.
Key elements of a useful cloud architecture diagram include:
- Consideration of key security issues, including regulatory requirements.
- Examination of how different resources will interact.
- Incorporation of all the information and resources that belong in the project.
- Planning how both end users will experience the front end of the build, and how your own teams will interact with the back end.
- How the project will scale over time.
When teams pay close attention to architecture questions in the planning phase, they’re better able to create plans and diagrams that result in a more efficient build and a more effective finished product. Our cloud migration and management whitepaper explores how.
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