In just a few years, the majority of businesses have fully embraced cloud computing and its benefits. However, while it's clear that cloud computing is highly valued, it's also important to ask: is the cloud secure?
News of a breach in a well-known company's cloud system always makes headlines. Fear fueled by these kinds of stories was once a motivating factor for organizations to stay on-premise (i.e., software installed at the company headquarters on company-owned servers). Today, however, with the overwhelming economic benefits of moving to the cloud, all companies are taking this step to remain competitive.
While the move from an on-premise infrastructure to a cloud-based one shifts some of the responsibility from the organization's owner, or IT personnel, to the cloud service provider (CSP), security remains a focal point for which the business owner must pay close attention. This is because in almost all cases it is the user, not the cloud provider, who puts an organization's data at risk.
Whether you are already using cloud computing, planning a move to the cloud, or have decided to stay on-premise, it's important to understand the different consequences these choices have on security management. Below, we have outlined the key differences between on-premise and cloud security.
Differences between on-premise and cloud computing
Ownership of Responsibilities
The biggest difference between on-premise and cloud security design is the amount of responsibility that falls on the organization itself. With an on-premise infrastructure, a company is responsible for the security of the ERP system from start to finish. It procures the servers where the data will be hosted, builds and manages the firewalls used to control network access, and controls the ability to query and extract data from the system, incurring all the costs (which can be substantial) that this choice entails.
In a cloud world, these security responsibilities are shared between the organization and the cloud service provider. This is often called a "shared responsibility model," and depending on the type of cloud service to which a customer subscribes, the customer's security responsibilities may differ.
Software as a Service
The cloud service provider is responsible for ensuring the security of the machines and the operation of the application itself. This makes sense because now the cloud customer is paying to use the CSP's application hosted on their cloud platform and infrastructure. In this case, the cloud customer is only responsible for the security of the ways in which they use the service.
It's a bit like what happens with rental cars: the company that provides you with the car is responsible for its perfect efficiency and maintenance, but if you drive recklessly, the risks are obviously yours.
It is extremely important to note that, even though in a cloud-based environment many of the responsibilities fall on the CSP, the cloud customer must follow appropriate processes and procedures and constantly update staff on suitable procedures to maintain the integrity of a secure cloud.
Another key difference between on-premise security and cloud security considerations is the way in which the network is accessed. On-premise ERP systems exist only on the devices on which they are installed. When business users need to access their corporate data in an on-premise environment, they must be physically in the office (on the corporate network).
For example, an employee may have software installed on their work laptop, allowing them to view corporate data from that device (on the corporate network, of course). The same employee may also have a personal laptop that does not have that software installed. This makes it easy to control access to applications and data, as there is only a single access point.
Although this may pose a challenge for remote workers, they can always use a virtual private network (VPN) to access their office device. VPNs are secure because they require a security key or other means of identity management.
In a cloud-based environment, employees can access corporate applications through a web browser. This means that any device with Internet access becomes an entry point to corporate data.
The advantages of On-premise and Cloud Computing
Whether you have an on-premise infrastructure or are already in the cloud, there are some advantages for both in terms of security:
Advantages of Cloud Security
An enormous advantage when it comes to security in the cloud is the accessibility of security tools built by the cloud service provider or the ERP provider.
Cloud service providers take the security of your data very seriously, especially for their reputation. Even when a data breach is the fault of a cloud customer, the CSP's image is always affected. For this reason, CSPs have invested heavily in machine learning to help identify weaknesses in your system and immediately notify you in case of an attack.
Advantages of On-premise Security
An obvious advantage of an on-premise security design is the clarity of responsibilities and ownership around security requirements. With a physical data center, it's easy to understand that access to the facility must be protected by the customer. The ownership of security requirements falls 100% on the company.
For small businesses... cloud is better
During the selection of an ERP system, cybersecurity is a concern for many organizations. But always keep in mind that, ultimately, security depends not so much on technology as on people and processes.
For example, cloud hosting may be more secure than on-premise hosting in a small business, where there is no full-time IT management role. In this case, choosing a cloud system is the one with the best cost-benefit ratio.
If you want to know more about the cloud system that So Smart offers you to manage your business...