Difference Between Traditional IT Systems and Cloud Computing

Today, businesses are increasingly relying on data for their day to day operations. Therefore, it is crucial for organizations to have systems built on infrastructure that is not only secure but also cost-effective and scalable.

The storage and retrieval of data from traditional servers can be archaic and insecure. To address the increasingly complex requirements for data transmission, storage, and analysis, organizations should consider cloud infrastructure.

Traditional IT Systems vs. Cloud Computing

What are Traditional IT Systems?

The IT infrastructure of the typical organization comprises hardware devices that are connected to on-premise servers. The entity’s data is stored on the servers. One of the benefits of storing data on a traditional server is that you have greater security control. This means that you can easily secure your cyber data since you have primary access to the server. As your data storage capacity needs an increase, you will have to upgrade the IT infrastructure with additional physical on-site hardware. These infrastructures can be quite expensive.

What are Cloud Computing Systems?

Cloud Computing systems refer to a set of infrastructures connected to each other over the internet for the purposes of holding data. The infrastructure is hosted and maintained by a cloud services provider, who is also in charge of security controls.

There are three main categories of cloud IT systems:

1. Public Cloud

Most organizations use the public cloud in their daily operations. Examples of public cloud services include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud platforms. Public cloud services are usually designed as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to allow scalability.

However, since public cloud environments are used to store huge amounts of data, they are often the target of malicious parties. A 2018 report by McAfee shows that about 25 per cent of companies that use the public cloud have suffered data breaches.

2. Private Cloud

Private cloud environments are largely safe from the security issues that affect the public cloud. With a private cloud, a company has full access and control of its data centres and security compliance. However, this also means massive costs associated with running and maintaining the private cloud environment.

According to an article by SearchCIO, the costs of running and maintaining a private cloud can easily reach over $1 million, which is way out of the financial capability of many organizations.

3. Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud arrangements provide the best value for organizations looking to secure their data and manage scalability costs.

With hybrid cloud computing, organizations use both public and on-premise private servers to store their data. A private server could be used to store the most crucial data while the other public servers could be used for other data. For example, payment information could be stored on the on-premise server while other non-personal identifiable data could be stored on the PaaS environment.

Difference Between Cloud and Traditional Security?

With traditional servers, data is stored on on-premise hardware and can be directly accessed by the relevant parties.

On the other hand, with cloud servers, the data is stored on the cloud provider’s servers. To access the data, you must configure your applications to communicate with the servers through the providers’ APIs (application programming interfaces).

When your system connects to the servers through the API, you can get various important security information such as the number of connections made, where the connections are originating from, etc. However, since the API is provided by the company, your applications’ connection to the server will only be as secure as the API has been configured.

Tips for Preventing Hybrid Cloud Security Threats

If you wish to store your data in a hybrid cloud environment, you must think more broadly about security. You can control the information that you share with cloud services. However, it is not always possible to control who can access the information.

Here are some steps you should take to mitigate cybersecurity threats to your data in a hybrid cloud environment.

1. Review the data stored in the cloud

While you may not have total control of everything within the cloud environment, you should carry out a regular review of the data you store there. As data is transferred and stored every day in the cloud, it is easy for outdated information to get forgotten in the servers.

You should regularly audit the data stored in the cloud to ensure its integrity. Outdated data should be removed to keep server costs down.

2. Work with security-focused vendors

Before signing up with a cloud service provider, check their security protocols for protecting your data. The company should have a robust and updated infrastructure that will always ensure the availability of your data.

If you are using any APIs from the service providers, work out proper controls and service level agreements to ensure data integrity.

3. Monitor threats continuously

Stay abreast of cloud security threats and make sure your provider has the latest patches and mitigation measures to counter intrusions. Choose a cloud provider that regularly assesses its security measures to mitigate the evolving threats targeting cloud environments.

4. Meet your compliance obligations

If you must adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you’ll need to store your customer’s data in a local data centre.  Some regulatory compliance laws require companies to report data breaches. Make sure the service provider will keep you informed of breaches to avoid noncompliance.

The above is an overview of the differences between traditional and cloud security systems.