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News

Outsourcing IT functions needs to include security review

Global Secure Systems (GSS) : 18 November, 2008  (Technical Article)
GSS believes financial problems may lead companies to push IT into the cloud with corresponding security issues if policies aren't modified to reflect the changed architecture
Global Secure Systems says the continuing effects of the credit crunch will drive companies towards the benefits of Cloud Computing.

'It's clear from the UK banks that, despite the government having baled several of them out, that their lending to all sizes of companies is being reined in. This means that firms will increasingly look to outsource their IT resources which, inevitably means looking at Cloud Computing for their file and data storage,' said David Hobson, GSS' managing director.

'Whilst this is not a totally bad thing, as it eases cashflow and allows anywhere-anytime access to the files, companies still need to review their IT security resources before migrating to a Cloud-based data storage system,' he added.

According to Hobson, although Cloud Computing allows companies to enjoy economies of scale, smaller and regular payments - instead of a large upfront cost, and zero-hardware when it comes to their data storage facilities, the security landscape is quite different.

Reworking the IT security resource for the Cloud Computing environment, he says, can be a tricky task for company IT managers, because the traditional approach of firewall + anti-malware + network monitoring does not apply.

You are, says Hobson, moving into a situation where the integrity of data is in the hands of a third party and, as such, should be checked and verified before that data is used or moved back - even on a temporary basis - inside the company network perimeter, or on to mobile computing device such as a laptop or PDA.

'We recommend implementing some form of end point security, as well as close adherence to corporate governance rules, which may require the company to impose certain service level agreements on the Cloud Computing service provider, most notably when it comes to where in the world your company data is being stored,' he said.

'It's important to realise that your data will also be backed up to another data farm, which may be on the other side of the world. For this reason, it pays to check with your Cloud service provider that you are also obeying the relevant data security regulations on where data should - and should not - be stored. Also a shift to the Cloud does mean any business should have fault tolerance in their Internet connections. If the data is not available to them it is no good!,' he added
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