The cloud has made possible computing conveniences like scalable storage of data and applications, faster collaboration, unified communications, virtualization, co-location, mobility, and speedy disaster recovery. However, behind the cloud are risks that may impact organizations if these risks are not properly assessed and managed.
IT research firm Gartner advises that the inherent attributes of cloud computing require a comprehensive assessment of potential risks. Telecom agents, businesses, and any organization using the cloud should consider these risks when migrating to the cloud:
Security and data integrity
Security continues to be a major obstacle to embracing the cloud. It is crucial for agents and businesses to make sure that cloud vendors they are dealing with are reliable and can be trusted. Once data is migrated to the cloud, how can the service provider guarantee the security of such data? Are encryption and access control mechanisms in place?
In addition, ask about how many tenants have shared access. What type of authentication and authorization is required for privileged users? All of these questions are important to answer when migrating to the cloud.
Due to the universal nature of the cloud, cloud service providers can store and process data in any jurisdiction that allows them to do so. Not knowing the virtual or physical location of your data can be an issue. Customers have the right to know where their data is going to be stored so that they may be apprised of any local regulatory compliance requirements in the selected host state or country.
Framework reliability and compatibility
Existing operating framework should not clash with the chosen cloud services. Some changes in the current IT infrastructure may be necessary to make the new framework compatible with the cloud. Inferior framework reliability may lead to issues during peak periods, restricted access to important information, or unworkable administration tools.
Shared access vulnerabilities
Shared access or multitenancy is a common feature of the public cloud. It involves the sharing of the same computing resources, including storage, CPU, memory, and physical infrastructure. The shared setup is open to the leaking of private data to other tenants.
Researchers have started exploring the vulnerabilities of shared access and found that they have been able to peek into other tenants’ IP addresses and memory space. A few have been able to access another tenant’s computing resources. Gartner adds that multitenancy may be a big risk in the future if safeguards are not applied.
Gartner asserts that any cloud computing option that does not replicate data and application infrastructure in multiple sites is doomed to fail. Telecom agents and businesses need to make sure that their chosen cloud partners have the capability to perform complete recovery in the fastest time possible after a disaster.
Lack of standardization
A completely standardized cloud environment has yet to be implemented. Differentiating offerings can lead to major infrastructure changes that can be costly, time consuming, and manpower-intensive.
Customers need to get assurance from their service providers that they will be able to provide additional services for their future growth requirements. More importantly, customers need to get the commitment of their providers that their data will remain available in case the latter goes bankrupt or is acquired by another company.
Computing has never been the same since the cloud began hovering over the technology world. Understanding vendor options and various cloud offerings in relation to a business’s unique needs is a good first step to know what risks to avoid.