Reducing threats and management headaches across private clouds


By Monica Brink, EMEA Marketing Director, iland.

While public cloud implementations are steadily increasing, private clouds in customer's own data centres continue to be deployed because of the perceived higher levels of security and control they offer.

But, the management of a private cloud can be complex and many organisations underestimate the scale of the challenge. Security and management in particular continues to be pain points. Many go in with the assumption that in a private cloud, IT departments have more control so the environment will either inherently be more secure, or will be easier to implement and maintain security controls.

Unfortunately, many organisations subsequently find the management challenge is greater than anticipated and adoption is difficult, which often has more to do with organisational and IT transformation issues rather than the technology itself. This puts a whole new dimension on the scale of the challenge, and raises the question of whether the internal IT team is up to it.

In order to secure your private cloud you will need to manage your cloud footprint – including key performance metrics, network and virtual machine configuration, disaster recovery and backup, intrusion detection, access management, patching, antivirus – and many more security considerations. The sheer volume of security controls needed can be overwhelming and not many IT departments have the people power or expertise to be able to manage diverse security solutions from multiple vendors. But, the real kicker is often not just the security technology itself, it's the internal processes required to implement private cloud security.

The IT team needs to work with the security department and procurement to define responsibility for who looks after what when it comes to maintaining infrastructure. Internal departments also won't necessarily prioritise your request and complex negotiations and acts of diplomacy often ensue. Evaluation processes alone can take six months or more and it's a dance that needs to be done for not one security solution but for multiple solutions.

Add to this the fact that the threat landscape continues to grow and become ever more complex. Some cloud initiatives are increasingly stalling or getting cancelled altogether because the security risks are deemed to be too high. This results in an uncomfortable situation for IT leaders as lines of business in their organisations are still demanding the agility, scalability and cost savings that cloud computing can deliver.

IT leaders know they can't abandon cloud altogether, the benefits are too great – and yet they also know whose head will be on the line if an outage, data loss or hacking incident was traced to a cloud workload. It is not surprising that some IT leaders look back with nostalgia on the simple outsourcing models of the past.

A secure hosted private cloud from a provider like iland can provide an answer for companies with workloads that require isolated infrastructure. A hosted private cloud can deliver all the integrated security, management, support and availability levels you would get in a traditional data centre environment, but with all the convenience and benefits of cloud.

Instead of buying, installing, integrating and maintaining separate security solutions, secure hosted private cloud solutions like iland's also offer a purpose built management console that integrates the management and reporting of security and compliance settings, smoothing the path to completing audits. Embedded security features in a hosted cloud platform include role-based access control, two-factor authentication, VM encryption, vulnerability scanning, anti-virus/anti-malware, integrity monitoring, intrusion detection, detailed firewall and log events,.

Additionally, all private cloud resources can be managed from a single place, with access to performance metrics, granular billing data, VM management capabilities and DR management. Hosted private cloud customers also benefit from flexible pricing models that deliver predictable and controllable operational expenses in reservation or burst options while avoiding the capital expenses of on-premise private clouds.

As the security challenge continues for cloud workloads, secure hosted private clouds offer stretched IT departments the best of both worlds. Removing the burden of hardware management, shifting capital expenses to operating costs and benefitting from the latest innovations, this model seamlessly augments on-premise data centres and delivers a robust, enterprise-class secure private cloud with all the features of a public cloud – but without the management overhead.

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