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More Secure in the Cloud? Exploring Cloud Security

Prem Thomas Augustine
May 1, 2024
cloud security

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“Our data has been breached!”

That might be one of the scariest phrases for corporations. The amount of data flowing in and out of your servers continues to grow and that data is the lifeblood of your business. This is why many organizations, including collections and recovery agencies, are reluctant to move their business-critical software to the Cloud, instead preferring to keep it in a secure on-premises data center.

But that on-premises data center might not be as secure as you think. Thanks to a considered focus on cloud security, the data flowing through collections and recovery agencies might be more secure in the Cloud.

A growing Cloud

It is a digital world, and businesses of all sizes are adapting to this reality. For many, that means moving to cloud computing, where data and programs are stored on remote servers.

Cloud computing has proven a valuable tool in today’s digital landscape, leading to 66% of organizations increasing their investment in business-critical SaaS applications. Many organizations rely on multiple cloud applications, as 69% of organizations currently use three or more cloud service providers.

And this trend looks to continue. Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 20.4% to $678.8 billion in 2024, up from $563.6 billion in 2023. And, by 2027, more than 70% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives, up from less than 15% in 2023.

A false belief

Not all businesses have jumped on the cloud computing bandwagon. That is due, in part, to the belief that their data is more secure in their on-premises data center. But that might not be the case.

According to a recent threat intelligence report, nearly half of all on-premises databases are vulnerable to cyberattacks. This five-year study of 27,000 scanned databases discovered that the average database contains 26 existing vulnerabilities.

Of these vulnerabilities, more than half of the common vulnerabilities and exposures found were ranked as high and critical severity, based on guidelines from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. These vulnerabilities provide an enticing opportunity for cyber attackers.

A secure Cloudcloud security

Hacks, data breaches, cyberattacks. Are these the first things that come to mind when you think of cloud computing? They are for some collections and recovery organizations, which is why they continue with an on-premises model for their software. For others, they see the Cloud as a secure option.

According to 2022 survey, the majority of organizations (89%) said they host sensitive data or workloads in the public cloud. That’s because data in the Cloud is very secure when the proper cloud security protocols are followed.

And that’s where the problem lies. People are tasked with ensuring these protocols are in place. But, as we all know, people make mistakes. When they do, incidents occur. Human mistakes are the leading cause of 95 percent of all cybersecurity breaches.

A secure relationship

Cloud security is a shared responsibility between many parties, including the cloud provider and the application developer. A cloud provider, such as Oracle, secures the core infrastructure. And the application developer builds security elements into their applications. Let’s take a closer look at this relationship.

Oracle, for example, employs hundreds of cybersecurity experts to ensure the data stored in its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) is secure. OCI is a next-generation infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering built on security-first design principles. These principles include:

  • Isolated network virtualization
  • Pristine physical host deployment

These were previously difficult to achieve with earlier public cloud designs. Now with these design principles, OCI helps reduce risk from advanced persistent threats. OCI also benefits from:

  • Tiered defenses
  • Highly secure operations that span from the physical hardware in the Oracle data centers to the web layer
  • Protections and controls available in the Oracle cloud

As for the application developers, any new offering, such as a new collections platform, must make security a key feature. That means designing your application to work in concert with the chosen cloud provider. Depending on the industry and application, compliance is also critical to the adoption and usability of a platform. Developers should obtain industry certifications to assure customers of a commitment to security and compliance. Some of the most common certifications include:

  • ISO 27001: Published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in partnership with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the ISO framework is a combination of various standards for organizations to use. ISO 27001 provides a framework to help organizations, of any size or any industry, protect their information in a systematic and cost-effective way, through the adoption of an Information Security Management System (ISMS).
  • PCI: Payment card industry (PCI) compliance refers to the technical and operational standards that businesses follow to secure and protect credit card data provided by cardholders and transmitted through card processing transactions.
  • SOC 2: A SOC examination evaluates service organization controls that specify how organizations should manage customer data. The standard is based on the following Trust Services Criteria: security, availability, processing, integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. A SOC 2 report is intended to meet the needs of a broad range of users that need detailed information and assurance about the controls at a service organization relevant to the security, availability, and processing integrity of the systems the service organization uses to process users’ data and the confidentiality and privacy of the information processed by these systems.
  • HITRUST: Healthcare industry representatives govern the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST). HITRUST created and maintains the Common Security Framework (CSF), a certifiable framework to help healthcare organizations and their providers demonstrate their security and compliance in a consistent and streamlined manner.

With so many developers and experts focusing on cloud security, it is no wonder that so many businesses are moving to a cloud infrastructure.

A secure future

Cloud computing is proving a huge benefit to thousands of organizations around the world. While some organizations were hesitant to transition to cloud computing due to security fears, the reality is…cloud architectures are more secure than ever and might even be more secure than your on-premises data center. And when you consider the additional benefits of moving to the Cloud (cost savings, scalability, agility, and more), it’s no surprise that more companies are adopting cloud applications.

Cloud security is keeping millions of pieces of data safe for collections and recovery agencies every day. Isn’t it time to make the move to the Cloud?

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