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Securing your cloud identity – what your business needs to know

According to IDC, more and more Australian enterprises are moving to the cloud. As cloud adoption grows, ensuring that businesses do not become exposed to security breaches, data privacy exposures, and compliance issues has become a top priority for the IT department.

In the last year alone, there’s been a significant increase in the number of CIO mandates to only adopt cloud applications. Research from IDC claims that by 2019, IT managers and enterprises will be spending more than US$140 billion annually on cloud services. Of course, when approached in the right way and integrated correctly, the cloud can deliver considerable benefits to organisations.

Here are three key steps you need to consider when embarking on your cloud journey:

  1. The right objectives

    As organisations move to the cloud, they will likely continue to have a number of critical applications that remain on-premises, some for many years to come. So even if a ‘cloud-first’ mandate exists, any cloud-based identity management solutions must provide comprehensive coverage to this hybrid IT environment.

    While it’s up to IT managers to work within the realms of the businesses, it’s up to the C-level to understand what’s possible and to set realistic directives.

  2. The importance of visibility

    Employees today can use their personal devices to access corporate accounts in the cloud. While this is great for the business, improving productivity no end, it requires IT to have visibility into – and control over – access.

    Therefore, business decision makers must empower IT with the right tools to manage the evolving identities accessing a business network.

  3. The value of data

    Not only has data exploded, but the way we store, access and share data has dramatically evolved. Data that was previously kept secure in a database or application has now been distributed in a largely uncontrolled fashion.

    With potentially sensitive data making the move to cloud storage services, it is crucial for organisations to understand and manage where this data exists and who has access to it. The importance and value of data needs to be discussed at a board level to ensure IT is empowered to protect it.

In order for business leaders to make the most of the cloud without exposing themselves to security and privacy concerns there needs to be a shift in organisations’ overall approach to IT security.

Since understanding ‘identity’ is often the most critical element in linking all this together, enterprises need to ensure that identity is at the centre of their IT and security approach.

To accomplish this, the historic barriers and separate silos of security and operations processes need to be broken down, providing better visibility into who is doing what, what kind of risk that represents, and to be more proactive in dealing with threats in real-time – across the entire hybrid IT enterprise infrastructure.

The ability to manage and control identities across the hybrid IT environment while securely migrating to a cloud enterprise requires sound identity governance. And truly, that identity governance program needs to be treated as a company-wide initiative.

As a result, organisations can ensure visibility, control and governance to all data and applications. Only by taking an ‘identity-first’ governance approach can IT managers help their organisations become ‘cloud-first’ over time, maintaining a safe IT environment while still keeping identity governance at the foundation of it all.

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