Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Donald Meyer, Jose Diaz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

In the Rush to the Cloud, Don’t Forget About Data Governance

Migrations to the cloud are an extension of the operational perimeter of the business

Cloud computing has become an integrated part of IT strategy for companies in every sector of our economy. By 2012, IDC predicts that IT spending on cloud services will grow almost threefold to $42 billion. So it's no surprise that decision makers no longer wonder "if" they can benefit from cloud computing. Instead, the question being asked now is "how" best to leverage the cloud while keeping data and systems secure.

Data governance and compliance issues are typically the same whether information is in a private or public cloud environment or on-premise. That said, when organizations are considering moving business data to the cloud, a sound data governance approach must be in place to avoid costly data protection mistakes. At the heart of a sound data governance strategy is ensuring that only the right users have access to the right data at all times.

While the economic advantages of the cloud are compelling (the ability to quickly expand infrastructure to meet demand, low usage-based pricing and near infinite scalability), many organizations have yet to master data governance of their existing, in-house infrastructure. It's a bit like putting the cart before the horse. Against that backdrop, it should come as no surprise that cloud services can actually exacerbate existing data management and protection issues, adding a host of new concerns:

  • How do I enforce existing security policies and procedures when my data is in the cloud?
  • If my cloud provider is sued, can the suing party get access to my data?
  • How do I get access to full reporting that I need for my IT governance and compliance responsibilities?
  • How do I know what other data is in my cloud?
  • How do I know if my cloud is secure?
  • How do I automate access rights management in the cloud?

The Data Deluge Dilemma
Organizations have more digital data than ever before that must be continuously managed and protected in order for it to remain safe and retain its value. While data governance is often thought of more as a discipline than a technology, software can help companies implement data governance policies through automation, without disrupting existing business processes.

Concern about data governance has increased substantially over the past two decades, driven by the rapid growth in digital collaboration and an exponential increase in the amount of data that is created, shared, streamed and stored. Organizations now possess increasingly more information about their customers and partners - whether it's stored in a cloud environment or not - and failure to protect this data can be damaging. Partners and customers expect their information will be consistently protected before conducting business with a company. Therein lies the need for comprehensive data governance to manage and protect critical data, which has become a key issue for the cloud.

For years, IT has worked at capacity to manage and protect data manually as best it could - responding to authorization requests, migrating data, and cleaning up excessive access. Yet, despite this effort, IT has been falling further and further behind for the past 15 years. There is simply too much data being created too quickly to manage, protect and realize its full value without continuous, up-to-date information about the data: metadata.

Put simply, metadata is data about the data you hold in your organization. Use and analysis of metadata is already more common than we realize, and automated collection, storage, analysis and presentation of metadata will become a necessity not only for in-house data stores, but for cloud infrastructure as well.

Metadata frameworks for data governance from companies like Varonis non-intrusively collect critical information, generate metadata where existing metadata is lacking (e.g., file system filters and content inspection technologies), pre-process it, normalize it, analyze it, store it, and present it to IT administrators in an interactive, dynamic interface. Once data owners are identified, they are empowered to make informed authorization and permissions maintenance decisions through a web-based interface. In addition, data owners can do all of this on their own without IT overhead or manual back-end processes.

Those organizations that have learned to harness metadata to underpin their data governance practices will have a far greater chance of a extending those management and protection capabilities to the cloud, assuming that the cloud providers are equally metadata-capable.

Due Diligence in the Cloud
To coin a phrase from John Walker, Professor of Science & Technology, School of Computing & Informatics and member of ISACA Security Advisory Group: "You are not merely buying a cloud, you are choosing a partner and that choice has to be based on thorough due diligence. This process is essential. The most important barrier to the adoption of cloud computing is assurance - ‘how do I know if it's safe to trust the cloud provider?' With today's complex IT architectures and heavy reliance upon third-party providers, there has never been a greater demand for transparency and objective metrics for attestation."

Migrations to the cloud are an extension of the operational perimeter of the business. It is a partnership that joins on-premise business objects with those located in the extended perimeter of the cloud. Both are subject to the same access controls and policies. Any approach to utilize the cloud must be achieved in tandem with organizational controls to create a robust, contractually obligated partnership between client and provider - nothing short of this should be considered secure.

There is an urgent need to address security and compliance challenges associated with an organization's cloud initiatives. IDC research has found that security and compliance are among the top three challenges to cloud computing. Without adequate information on the security and compliance profile of the data, including its ownership, access controls, audits and classification, cloud initiatives can fall short of expectations and put sensitive data at risk. Understanding the data owners, authorized users and user activity is critical to garnering organizational input, which in turn, is critical to defining the security and compliance profile of the data for your internal datacenter and the cloud. CFOs and CIOs are hesitant, IDC says, to move critical data and processes into the cloud when there is still little visibility on access and ownership, traceability and data segregation. It is vital that organizations have data governance in order to provide secure collaboration and data protection for their customers, partners and employees. Without it, companies will find it virtually impossible to manage and protect digital information in the cloud or anywhere else.

More Stories By Wendy Yale

Wendy Yale leads marketing and brand development for Varonis’ global growth efforts. She is a veteran brand strategist with 16 years of marketing experience. Prior to Varonis, Wendy successfully managed the global integrated marketing communications team at Symantec. She joined Symantec from VERITAS, where she led the interactive media marketing team. Beginning her career as a freelance producer and writer, she has developed projects for organizations such as the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Film and Video Magazine, Aloha Airlines, the International Teleproduction Society and Unitel Video. Wendy has held senior posts at DMEC and ReplayTV, and holds a B.A. degree in Geography from Cal State Northridge. You can contact Wendy at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
18th Cloud Expo, taking place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...