For some chief information officers, implementing cloud computing solutions may feel like a loss of control.
In many ways, entrusting third-party service providers with the task of storing all of a company’s data can be a daunting proposition. However, a significant number of CIOs believe that the benefits of placing all of their information on the cloud vastly outweigh the possibility of having to forfeit their authority.
Just as the concept of cloud-based tools is circulating the tech community, the aversion to so-called “shadow IT” is doing the same. Despite any reservations that CIOs may have about handing over the reigns to outside companies, they can find peace in knowing that this power shift is not absolute. Simply because they are adopting cloud-based infrastructure, corporate IT departments are not completely cut out of monitoring and managing their data.
According to CIO.com, there is no doubt that it is more challenging for tech professionals to keep tabs on their systems when all of their hardware is no longer stored in house. With that said, it pays for them to put a little extra effort into tracking, managing and securing both their solutions and their information held up in the cloud.
Reclaim some power
Seeing as it is an IT executive’s job to ensure that a business’s tech functions are working efficiently and safely, he or she should not turn a blind eye and allow shadow IT to take over. Instead, CIOs need to be vigilant, making sure that every change made to their cloud-based network has been authorized by their companies so that they can prevent security breaches.
To accomplish this task, the news source recommended that tech departments perform routine scans of their systems. If CIOs and their staff members regularly inspect the programs and devices tapping into their network, they could better guarantee that they can identify potential cyberthreats that their service providers may be overlooking.
“This can be incorporated into routine enterprise vulnerability scanning, a widely adopted security best practice,” said Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer at Tripwire. “This approach will enable you to gather information about where new devices are on your network and detailed information on what kind of device they are.”
Given common worries surrounding cloud technology, many providers may reassure IT departments with employing their own data protection methods. While there is no harm in cloud computing companies installing a firewall, this should not be sufficient enough for IT executives.
They need to use these measures to their advantage. Consulting information logs compiled by third-party security programs could let them pinpoint any potential breaches from external users who managed to gain access to their network.
“This data can tell you which services are being used, who uses them, how often and how much data is uploaded and downloaded,” added CEO of Skyhigh Networks Rajiv Gupta.
Not all breaches are equal
Even if IT departments find that devices unrelated to their companies have managed to infiltrate their cloud computing systems, not every instance is necessarily cause for alarm. For this reason, CIO.com advised that tech professionals use their resources wisely, addressing individual breaches based on the degree of risk that they pose. Mainly, CIOs should try to tackle cases that occurred in more sensitive areas of their systems, such as those storing high volumes of confidential information.
“Not all software/services used outside of IT control is bad,” Gupta explained to the news source. “Leverage an objective and comprehensive registry of cloud services to identify the highest risk services in use and address those first.
“Prevent access to these high-risk services by blocking them via your existing infrastructure (i.e., firewalls, proxies, MDM solutions) or by identifying users and requesting they cease using the services,” he added.
Don’t nix your IT staff
With so many organizations attempting to incorporate cloud computing tools into their operations, the security threat presented by shadow IT highlights the need for a strong internal department. InformationWeek stated that business professionals, though boasting their own set of valuable skills, are not well-equipped to take on the tracking and managing tasks that data protection calls for.
Though companies may be attracted by the cost-efficient promises made by the cloud in terms of replacing portions of their IT staff, firms should not be so quick to abandon their CIOs. Without the capacity to perform system audits, businessmen will be unable to detect any hacking occurrences, nor will they have the expertise to identify vulnerable areas within their networks.
If enterprises are keen on adopting cloud computing capabilities, they need to make sure that they have a solid IT team full of qualified talent. This way, businesses may be able to benefit from all of the low-costs and user-friendly functions provided by the cloud. At the same time, they would have tech personnel specifically dedicated to guaranteeing that the third-party network they are using is not susceptible to cybertheft. This would ultimately give companies back some of their control when it comes to the safety of their data.
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