The Post-Pandemic Future Is In The Cloud

As enterprises continue to learn from and adapt to business needs brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, one constant remains: The cloud is a game-changer. Prior to the pandemic, 88% of organizations used the cloud in one form or another with the expectation that they would continue to grow their usage of the cloud in 2020. Not only were those expectations correct, but the mass exodus from the office space meant that these organizations were better prepared to transition to a 100% remote workforce when lockdown and stay-at-home orders were put in place across industries in March and April.

For the organizations that were not cloud-first, the pandemic revealed a glaring reality: Businesses must embrace the cloud as a necessity in the modern IT landscape rather than viewing it as an option. This revelation, coupled with the industry’s experiences during the pandemic, has shifted business needs and intuition to inform the world’s IT and security decisions as we navigate the landscape following Covid-19.

As we look to the future, enterprises will find success in a model that allows them to keep up with the accelerations spurred by the shift to remote work. These benefits include increased efficiency, agility and security. With the information below, businesses will be better equipped for a future in the cloud.


Reduced Steps Increase Efficiency

With on-premises data storage, IT leaders commonly go through multiple physical security layers — including RFID access cards, sign-in sheets and operations team escorts — to access their servers within a data centre. The cloud has revealed streamlined processes that eliminate the need for these additional layers by providing options to immediately and securely access the data remotely.

Solutions that provide multi-factor authentication (MFA) can enable automated authentication decisions for select users on remote systems and provide granular access controls without a VPN while granting access to critical infrastructure. By limiting access to resources on a per-resource basis rather than opening up visibility to the entire network as you normally would with a VPN, you can ensure only your most privileged internal IT admins have access to necessary infrastructure while limiting access by an outsourced team to the servers and network hardware their role requires.


DevOps Won’t Slow You Down

In many cases, DevOps is taking over, and agility is king. Now we have containers, microservices and serverless computing, such as lambda, that are blending the lines between development, operations and security. Taking full advantage of the benefits afforded by a shift to the cloud relies heavily on the automation of processes. While beneficial, DevOps also creates a broader attack surface, and organizations must find ways to both reduce risks and yield the rewards of DevOps.

In order to maintain the agility and security of DevOps, organizations must ensure their security and operations teams are managing and auditing permissions and credentials for a growing number of user and system accounts. Look for solutions that grant just enough, just-in-time privilege and automate workflows and requests for privilege elevation. And audit everything, including monitoring sessions, analyzing the risk of access requests in real time and setting up alerts to warn against abnormal behaviour.


Securing Multi-Cloud Strategies Will Prepare You For The Future  

Multi-cloud strategies are also becoming extremely popular during the pandemic, as many companies are using multiple infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers. A survey conducted by Gartner reveals 81% of public cloud users are using two or more providers, which is guiding the narrative toward a future model built on hybrid- and multi-cloud computing.

However, this approach may lead to identity fragmentation and siloes that create new complexities and surface areas of risk for identity and access management. Identity fragmentation and sprawl make it harder to manage a more broadly dispersed, faster-moving organization. Centralizing identity management through federation and brokered access across resources can help reduce complexity while increasing security and optimizing productivity.

Organizations should adopt an approach to privileged access management (PAM) that focuses on the individual requesting a form of access, the reasoning behind their request, and the risk thereinBy implementing the least privilege, you will set yourself up for success.

As organizations look to drive their cloud initiatives forward, they must apply the same security controls and operational disciplines across both on-premises and hybrid- and multi-cloud environments. This can be achieved by ensuring the security stack includes a centralized PAM solution architected in the cloud, for the cloud.

This will minimize the attack surface and control privileged access to hybrid environments, which have experienced increased threat surfaces during the pandemic. Ideally, organizations with a presence in the cloud should enable multi-directory brokering across cloud platforms and leverage key benefits of the cloud economy such as elasticity and multi-tenancy.

By focusing on security and automation, organizations will be better prepared to implement cloud technologies that work for their business needs. Understanding the risks and benefits of adopting a cloud strategy alongside implementation provide organizations with the ability to find success during the pandemic and beyond.


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