Thanks to improved security features offered by managed cloud service providers such as HOSTING, financial services firms are adopting cloud computing solutions at an accelerated pace. And with good reason. After years of standing on the sidelines, financial services firms are realizing that the right cloud-based solutions can help them reduce operating costs, enhance customer relationships, safeguard sensitive data and maintain a strong compliant posture. If your financial services firm is contemplating the cloud, HOSTING recommends you ask the following cloud questions before you dive in.
What are our key performance indicators (KPIs) for moving to the cloud?
Yes, we just said that cloud computing solutions offer enterprises numerous benefits including cost savings, operational efficiency, security, scalability and compliance. However, before moving to the cloud, you need to establish KPIs for each application that you move into the cloud so that you can gauge the success of your own cloud deployment. This includes factors such as availability, security, consistency of service, change management and control procedures.
How much control do we want over our cloud environment?
Keep in mind that the cloud solution(s) you choose must provide the level and quality of service that your business requires. Transparency is also a key factor. Transparency means that you and your IT team know where your data resides, how applications are performing and that you can compare the actual performance of your applications to established service level agreements (SLAs). Transparency also means that you can view your current configuration against access rights and controls over change management.
How do we manage risk in the cloud?
Understanding the SLA that governs your cloud is an essential step in mitigating risk. Every cloud vendor offers different levels of availability and liability. Therefore, t’s imperative to carefully review those offered by prospective cloud service providers (CSPs). Our blog post, 4 Essential Questions to Ask When Comparing Public Cloud Service Agreements, will help you build your SLA selection criteria.
The security measures offered by your prospective CSP must also be evaluated. Cloud questions to ask your CSP include the following:
- How is the physical environment secured?
- How do you protect my cloud environment from external threats?
- What disaster recovery plans are in place to provide sufficient protection for data in the event of natural or man-made disaster, such as an equipment failure?
It may be helpful to come up with a checklist of desired security features to run through with your potential CSP. These include firewalls, intrusion detection, data encryption, data loss protection, etc.
How will the cloud help us maintain our compliant status?
If your organization must adhere to compliance regulations as prescribed by PCI and SOX, it is essential to align with a CSP that offers managed compliance hosting, or risk have your compliance standing slip through the cracks. A recent analysis of annual compliance assessments on more than 500 large organizations showed that only 11% of enterprises maintained their compliance status between assessments.
HOSTING is one of the first cloud service providers to offer managed compliance services for financial services organizations. Developed and tested by our team of certified security and compliance experts, HOSTING Managed Compliance Services™ empowers companies to manage and monitor their activities related to PCI and SOS regulations.
How can our organization prepare for the cloud?
First and foremost, leverage your organization’s business and technology goals to drive your cloud requirements. Scrutinize CSPs SLAs and security measure to ensure the meet your industry’s regulatory mandates.
Keep in mind that migrating to the cloud involves a cultural shift. Internal IT resources that are used to managing your organization’s technology assets can be redeployed to focus on more strategic, revenue-generating activities.
Finally, by taking the time to review your technical and business objectives, and reaching out to peers who have migrated to the cloud, organizations can develop a solid list of requirements to drive a successful engagement.
Need assistance in planning your migration to a compliant hosting environment? The HOSTING team of information security and compliance experts stands ready to help. Contact them anytime to discuss your specific needs.