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Understanding a CIO’s Role in Cybersecurity

Posted On: June 29, 2017

Topic: Security

spam cloud security with digits and handprintToday’s CIOs must achieve a delicate balance between meeting business objectives and providing security for their most critical data and systems. As more organizations migrate operations to the cloud, cybersecurity is a critical consideration, but there are many other components to consider as well. If your business needs to meet compliance regulations such as PCI DSS, CERT, FINRA and HIPAA, you must have the structure in place to ensure you can pass audits. So, while security needs to be a major factor when evaluating cloud providers, it's important to understand all of the parameters that play a part.

Risk, security, and compliance in the cloud

The successful businesses of yesteryear were built on legacy and on-premises data centers, posing challenges to modernizing systems. As these systems reach their end of lifecycle, IT departments are receiving more requests from senior executive to migrate to the cloud and replace or integrate existing systems in the interest of cost efficiency and business agility.

But, according to a survey by ESG, more than 85% of senior IT executives migrating to the cloud are concerned or very concerned about security. Whether it's from malicious intent, politically motivated or an insider mistake, significant security challenges persist including:

  • Attacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated
  • Readily available toolkits make it easy for low-level hackers to launch sophisticated attacks such as ransomware and other malware
  • Mobile devices have significantly increased the attack surface, and number of endpoints that need protection has grown exponentially
  • The pace of application change and system updates are difficult to keep up with to close vulnerabilities

The role CIOs must play to ensure cloud security

The CIO’s primary objective is to meet business goals such as improving customer experience, organizational agility, and optimizing new digital revenue streams. But none of this can be accomplished without a secure infrastructure.

In the cloud, the protection of data operates on a model of shared responsibility model where both cloud providers and users share the burden of ensuring security and meeting compliance mandates. But the ultimate responsibility for security lies within your organization and those who will have to answer to the boardroom in the event of a breach.

The cloud model your organization employs, public, private or hybrid, will determine the level of security provided by your cloud provider. Organizations have more extensive responsibilities for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) as compared to Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. With IaaS and PaaS, the risks include the potential cessation of business operations, failing a compliance audit, or being hit with a security breach.

Key security considerations for cloud migration

CIOs must take steps to ensure security during the cloud migration process. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating cloud providers:

  • Will my cloud infrastructure use least privilege policies for data access without compromising security?
  • Are applications or platforms designed with built-in security features such as an enterprise identity management system?
  • How will we encrypt data in motion or at rest during the migration process and beyond?
  • What third-party compliance standards must be met, and how does a cloud provider's security protocols map to industry standards?
  • How does the cloud provider document its security for compliance purposes?

Once you understand your requirements in the context of cloud offerings, you will be in a better position to implement security protections.

OneNeck IT Solutions understands that maintaining data security in the cloud is a complex undertaking. Our industry experts can help protect your resources from incurring outages and your data from exfiltration through proper design, system segmentation, and access control. Contact us to learn more.