Storage, Cloud, and Security – How to Prepare Your Environment

By: Bill Kleyman| - Leave a comment

There’s a very real shift happening with the business world today. The amount of data we’re processing and storing continues to rise and new concerns around integrity and security hit all-time highs. The fast digitization of the world has created new services, new applications, and a lot more data to manage. A recent Cisco Service Provider report shows that global IP traffic has increased fivefold over the past five years, and will increase threefold over the next five years. By the end of 2016, annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte (1000 exabytes) threshold, and will reach 2 zettabytes per year by 2019.

This is how much data we’re creating and organizations are constantly struggling with managing all of it. Still, one of the most discussed topics revolves around security. How do you create better security practices around cloud storage? How do you integrate on premise environments with cloud storage solutions? The good news is that cloud security has come a long way. And, there are new kinds of services which specifically aim to secure your cloud-based data.

When considering cloud for your data repository needs, security and management will be at the forefront of your planning process. With that in mind, it’s important to look at the following points when preparing your environment for cloud, storage and security.

  • Plan around and understand your data sets. Not every data set is created the same. Is this a database? Or, virtualization data? Create security policies around information containing data assets you simply can’t lose. This allows you to intelligently assign policies to the proper repositories. This could be a geo-fencing policy, or even device access restriction controls.
  • Look for encryption and other security services. Data at rest and in motion must be secured. Furthermore, new kinds of virtual services constantly monitor your applications and data sets to prevent anomalous traffic and malicious access. Encrypted data can traverse cloud as well as on premise environments for true agility.
  • Incorporating compliance into your data sets. Yes, you can completely segment your storage requirements and allow compliance data to reside in the cloud. Furthermore, you can wrap specific monitoring and security policies around compliance-bound data.
  • Use virtual security and cloud services. Powerful virtual security services work with cloud storage to analyze every piece of data that is assigned to a policy. Next-generation IPS, automated threat responses, and even intelligent analytics can all be a part of a cloud security strategy.
  • APIs and secure connections can be very useful. This is your own secure way to extend into the cloud. Automation and storage control mechanisms allow you to create powerful hybrid architectures built around intelligent security and control policies. This allows you to scale data between your own data center and a cloud repository.

Working with new types of security technologies

The world of cloud computing requires new types of security engines. Layer 4-7 DDoS protection (volumetric and application-layer), intrusion prevention/detection services (IPS/IDS), and data-loss prevention (DLP) are just a few examples of some advanced protection features. These new engines must scan multiple points within and outside of a network. Furthermore, organizations with heavy regularity compliance measures have to be even more careful with their data. Some healthcare organizations use DLP technologies which scan data leaving and coming in. From there, they scan for patterns, ‘xxx-xx-xxx’ for example, to flag, stop and report malicious data leakages. Next-generation security platforms are designed to help stop data loss by integrating into various technologies – including software-defined networks. These policy engines allow for granular data-flow control as core information flows between the end-user, your data center, and the cloud.

There’s no doubt that cloud and your storage requirements will continue to grow. The key points to remember around cloud and storage are the following:

  1. Your data is extremely critical. Always work to secure it around best practices.
  2. As more digitization happens – there will be more targets; and, inevitably, more breaches.
  3. Using intelligent security technologies helps mitigate risk and reduce the impacts of a possible breach.

Remember, there is no silver bullet to security. However, cloud can be a powerful partner to your cloud storage needs. Through multi-tenancy and policy controls – your data can be segmented, locked down and secured. Through it all – it’s important to work with services and providers which specifically meet your needs and business use-cases.

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About The Author

Bill Kleyman

CTO at MTM Technologies

Bill is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in datacenter design, management, and deployment. His architecture work includes large virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Bill enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues around everything that is technology. During the day, Bill is the CTO at MTM Technologies, where he interacts with enterprise organizations and helps align IT strategies with direct business goals. Bill’s whitepapers, articles, video blogs and podcasts have been published and referenced on InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Data Center Knowledge, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and many others. Most recently, Bill was ranked #16 in the Onalytica study which reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape, globally.

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