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An IT Directors guide to minimizing risk in the cloud

16 March, 2017
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Minimizing risk in the cloud

Given recent, widely published application and data breaches at well-known companies, worries about cloud and IT security are not likely to diminish anytime soon. As is the case in other areas, cloud security, too, is subject to misconceptions.

For example, surveys have noted that the multi-tenant cloud, where companies have limited control over their data, provokes security concerns that prompt close to 40 percent of companies considering a cloud deployment to shy away from it. However, analysts have been unable to verify a linkage between security problems and multi-tenancy.

As a special, prominent use case for the cloud, the internet of things (IoT) is often seen as high-risk, because unauthorized access and malevolent intent could damage data and communications as well as connected sensors and items. While some dramatic scenarios of hacking in the IoT have not materialized, they have also not been ruled out.

Planning

Today, any difference in severity between security risks in the cloud and on premise applications and networks is likely to be minimal. Such factors as mobility, content incursions from social media, bring-your-own-device practices, and distributed company operations that rely on telecommunications and connectivity, impact IT and its security measures no matter the nature of the underlying infrastructure.

You need a security plan for each application and technology domain in your organization, including your data, servers, and software in the cloud. In doing so, you should consider all realistic usage scenarios as well as the probable impact of breaches on operations and customers, the business-criticality of the data and applications, and the level of availability you want to accomplish.

For many companies, the hybrid cloud, which combines and connects on premise and cloud-based computing workloads, not only offers the most effective way to handle various workloads, but also provides the best options for keeping information and applications secure.

Use your resources

In Microsoft Azure – the cloud platform for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Columbus solutions in the cloud – you can manage security with the Azure Security Centre. The Security Centre is your unified resource for detecting, preventing, and responding to potential threats. It helps you implement policy-driven security measures for all your Azure resources and subscriptions, offering an intuitive dashboard for all security-related management tasks.

The Security Centre can connect with Power BI to enable more in-depth analysis and a practical understanding of threats, resource states, security recommendations, and other aspects of cloud security.

Many cloud analysts and technical journalists give Microsoft Azure high marks for some of its security features: For example, Microsoft Azure Antimalware integrates real-time protection into the cloud infrastructure. You can review any malware events through Azure Diagnostics, and log and analyse them in HDInsight. And, Azure Active Directory enables identity management in sync with on premise instances of Active Directory. It comes in three editions; the Premium version includes multi-factor authentication.

Choose the right cloud…

Microsoft Dynamics 365, which delivers a rich portfolio of ERP, CRM, and analytics capabilities on the Azure platform, further strengthens the information protection capabilities of Azure. It provides three types of security: role-based, record-based, and field-level. Dynamics 365 uses a hierarchical security model designed to support you with a high level of control while keeping your IT overhead and costs down.

Mitigating risk is a cornerstone of Columbus’ consultancy and solution development. We help you assess and address any potential security issues in your Azure deployment of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Columbus solutions that are certified for it. To learn more or take the next step, download our guide to transforming in the cloud today.

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