Defense Wins Championships

By Jeff Flanagan | February 21, 2013

One of the lasting images of the Super Bowl this year was the San Francisco 49ers having 1 play from inside the 5 yard line to get a touchdown. Score and win the game, miss and lose, it all came down to one play. All of America was glued to the television with anticipation, but we all should have had a suspicion of what was about to come; defense does win championships after all. Alas, true to the adage the Baltimore Ravens’ defense rose up, denied the touchdown and won the Super Bowl.

Over the years that saying has been attributed to everything from the battlefield to the football field; and today it’s just as apt for cloud computing. Before you roll your eyes, think about it -- what if the end zone was not a physical location on the football field, but rather your company’s most important data? You would want the biggest, meanest and toughest linebacker patrolling the goal line and keeping everyone out, wouldn’t you? As you contemplate your cloud computing strategy for 2013 and beyond it is of utmost importance that the security of your data is paramount.

This of course, begs the question: what is the best way to make sure I have a championship defense? The best defenses are multi-layered, not relying on any one specific entity to secure everything. That is why the hybrid cloud model can be a powerful tool. Using the best of both the public and private clouds in tandem provides the most flexibility and security. With a hybrid model a company is able to keep customer facing applications on the public cloud and important internal or client data on a private cloud.

Highly customizable hybrid clouds allow each company to do what they want, where they want, shattering the “one-size fits all” model that is so pervasive. This is also important from security perspective, because cyber attacks are increasingly becoming more sophisticated as ever. Today’s security threats are no longer easily solved by simply keeping your systems up to date and putting up firewalls. Each company needs to define a clear set of risks, classify and identify the assets that need to be protected. Effective “defense in depth” requires you to get down to the facts and understand exactly what it is that you’re trying to protect.

Championship defenses know what they are up against; they watch film on their opponents and know their own strengths and weaknesses. This research is equally as important when looking to move your data to the cloud. Collaborate with your internal department leaders and determine what the company’s cloud goals are. Once there is a clear understanding of what you are trying to gain from the move to the cloud, you will be armed with the right questions to ask potential cloud providers. Find the vendor who meets your requirements for security, reliability, adaptability, speed and any other factors you deem important. This collaborative approach will create a fundamental understanding of cloud goals between all departments, because, after all, the move to the cloud will affect everyone, -- not just IT.

In the end it is important to realize that the cloud brings a lot of benefits to an organization and while there are risks, these risks are similar to other business risks. The question is no longer “if companies will move to the could?” it‘s “when?” and delaying that move causes you to lose out on the potential benefits that competitors may already be reaping.