There’s no denying that digital transformation has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses have transitioned to a mix of on-and-off-site working, they have also relied more on cloud computing as a way to access and store data – data that may be sensitive or business critical. Many businesses have chosen to adopt a private cloud model for at least some of their cloud deployments because it is supposed to offer higher security levels. However not all private cloud solutions offer the same level of security.
In this article, Hiren Parekh, VP Northern Europe OVHcloud, outlines 5 key security points that businesses should when choosing a private cloud…
Whether you’re a company running operation critical environments, an enterprise that has already migrated or is in the process of migrating to the cloud, or a business looking to run intensive workloads or user desktop virtualisation in the cloud, a secure, private hosted cloud solution could be right for you.
The workforce is now located everywhere
Over the last few years, the global workforce has gone through a remarkable process of digital transformation. This has been irrevocably accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of people suddenly transitioning to a home working model, who may never before have been based outside of the office. It’s clear that, for many of us, our working patterns have changed for good – either working off-premise permanently or having a routine that straddles the two. This means that companies, and therefore their cloud solutions and security systems need to adapt in line with this transition.
Today’s mix of home and on-premise working inevitably means greater reliance on the cloud, as a means to access applications and data from anywhere. This includes those that are more business critical. Inevitably higher volumes and more sensitive data will also now be shared using a cloud environment.
This presents a challenge for IT departments. They need to ensure this digital environment can securely adhere to compliance and regulatory requirements, as well as user expectations of performance (think connectivity and the user experience). Many of these applications have not already been migrated to the cloud because enterprises have traditionally been concerned about security and availability risks. But now they need to find a way to host them in the cloud, securely.
In fact, security has always been a concern for many organisations when it comes to cloud adoption. One way to experience the benefits of cloud computing but maintain higher levels of security is private cloud. But how do you know if the private cloud solution you’re choosing really is secure? Here are five security points to look out for when selecting a private cloud solution:
1. The dedicated and isolated environment
Whether your private cloud solution is physically located at your organisation’s on-site datacentre or hosted by a third-party, the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to your organisation. Having a dedicated location provides enhanced control and security over your data environment as resources are not shared with others. Private cloud solutions are particularly beneficial when it comes to highly sensitive data as they require no internal intervention, therefore minimising the risk of associated security breaches.
However, it’s still important to ensure the private network and its associated hardware and software are as secure as possible. If you’re using a third-party host, it is imperative to check their track record for security. Industry analyst reports, such as the Forrester Wave™, can be a good source of this information.
2. High availability and reliability
A private cloud solution ensures a certain level of performance that cannot always be guaranteed with a public cloud solution. This is a huge benefit for business-critical applications and data. However, maintaining this level of availability relies on a high level of security. As with the previous point, checking the security measures you or your third-party host have in place is of paramount importance.
It’s also worth remembering that an additional benefit of any cloud solution is having a dedicated cloud host to monitor for security hazards or breaches and be available 24/7 to solve data needs – as opposed to relying on an in-house team. If you choose a hypercale cloud provider like OVHcloud, you will find they work closely with a range of technology partners to stay one step ahead with regards to vulnerabilities and patches.
3. Customisation and control
It’s important to consider the level of customisation and control available with a private cloud solution, especially when it comes to mission-critical workloads which might exceed an organisation’s risk tolerance if hosted on a public cloud.
Private cloud solutions can respond quickly to changing organisational needs, scaling or changing its configuration to respond to security breaches, changes to security protocols or requirements or a need to secure higher volumes of data.
Therefore, when deciding on your organisation’s cloud configuration it’s important to be aware of the level of customisation and control you will have – how quickly and easily you can adapt your cloud setup and whether there are any specific security protocols your private cloud solution would need to adhere to. OVHcloud’s Hosted Private Cloud Premier solution, for example, has been designed to provide concrete, fluid and intuitive solutions enabling organisations to customise and have complete control over the storage and security of their data.
4. Data sovereignty
Data sovereignty is a key consideration when making decisions about your organisation’s data. In Europe, businesses can be fined up to 4% of annual turnover if they do not comply with GDPR.
Although there are public clouds that can support the compliance and security needs of regulated verticals, private clouds give organisations peace of mind and confidence in where their data is residing and what regulations it must therefore adhere to.
Before signing any private cloud contract, businesses should check where their data will be stored and the resulting compliance implications for their business. OVHcloud customers, for example, can choose the location for their data. These different dimensions of technical separation and territoriality for data have become an essential part of choosing a cloud provider today.
5. Standardised Certifications
Depending on the industry your organisation is in, your data will be required to meet not only national regulations but to also hold company- or sector-specific certifications. Having a dedicated private cloud host means that they are responsible for holding the appropriate certifications. Checking on the current certifications they hold is therefore crucial.
It is likely that in the future you may decide to migrate other applications and data to a private cloud solution. Choosing a provider that has a wide range of certifications crossing specific sectors will enable you to remain with the same provider for all your private cloud needs, enabling you to benefit from economies of scale, while also safeguarding your data security.
For example, OVHcloud has multiplied the number of certifications it holds to ensure the security level is sufficient for specific sectors and that this level remains constant, including PCI DSS to work with payment card data and ISO 27001, SOC 1 & 2 Type II for healthcare data.
OVHcloud is the leading European cloud provider, operating 400,000 servers within its own 31 data centres across 4 continents. They provide their 1.5 million customers with the latest-generation solutions that combine high performance, predictable pricing and full data sovereignty to support their unfettered growth.
For more information on OVHcloud’s hosted private cloud solutions click here.