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Moving to cloud? Focus concerns on operational risk, rather than cybersecurity

25 Aug 2017

Businesses should worry less about security and start addressing operational risk when it comes to moving to cloud, according to Palo Alto Networks.

The company recently conducted a survey that found 36% of Australian respondents named moving to cloud as the third biggest cybersecurity challenge for their organisations.

However, because security in the cloud is generally stronger than that used in on-premise infrastructure, operational risk is much more of a concern.

 "If organisations have the right technology in place, security shouldn’t be an issue. Moving to the cloud is an integral part of business growth: it helps address the need for compute and storage resources, and provides agility, scalability, and global reach,” comments Philip Dimitriu, Palo Alto Networks director of System Engineering, ANZ.

He says that organisations hand data to a third party when they move to the cloud. This can unnerve some business leaders.

“That doesn’t have to be the case because, in most instances, data is more secure in the cloud. And, while it’s not possible to stop all cyberattacks regardless of whether data resides in the cloud or on-premise, it is possible to reduce the risk substantially,” he explains.

Operational risk includes not only data security, but how well applications perform in the cloud. This is where businesses should focus most of their concern. If businesses suffer performance issues and can’t use certain applications, this can have a major effect on its operations, Palo Alto states.

On top of that, if data stored in the cloud is unavailable when users need it, it affects an organisation’s ability to complete orders and maintain high service levels.

“Moving to the cloud should deliver operational improvements. If the service provider can’t guarantee uptime and performance, as well as security, then it defeats the purpose: the business may as well have kept everything on-premise. Downtime and poor performance can directly affect the business’s bottom line, so it’s essential for decision-makers to address this upfront with providers,” Dimitru says.

“Decision-makers need to ensure there are legal agreements, including service level agreements, in place that cover questions of uptime, liability, performance, and data ownership. They must then regularly review the relationship to ensure it continues to serve the business needs. By doing these things, organisations can overcome the potential operational risks and achieve the transformational benefits of moving to the cloud. Cloud security should not be seen as an inhibitor, but instead as an enabler to cloud service adoption,” he concludes.

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