Cloud Security: Risk versus Reward

Many business executives struggle with how they perceive cloud security with cloud computing and how it ultimately affects their enterprise. It is clear to most that security is essential in protecting intellectual assets that are potentially accessed online. It clearly plays a very important part in providing benefits by facilitating smoother operations, increasing trust, preventing loss and the overall shaping of risk management. But just how important is it relative to the allocation of funds?

Is Cloud Security a Cost or Investment?        

Although everyone agrees that the enterprise needs to be secure, the level of security is the real debate. Typically, those that view security as a cost are looking to economize when possible. That’s what one does with costs, they are trying to contain and reduce them. Those that look at cloud security as an investment are more often than not, attempting to maximize the level of security even if that task results in additional costs. This is because they view it as one of the most important stewardships, that of protecting the enterprise.

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

Interestingly, better cloud security does not categorically need to cost more. The fact of the matter is that there are technological options and best practices that have been designed to mitigate costs and yet result in providing a proactive, cutting edge defense.  Ultimately, each company that is planning and budgeting for security needs to weigh the risks and rewards involved and make their priorities accordingly.

Anticipating Potential Security Problems

Each enterprise typically has its unique challenges and potential vulnerabilities that need to be anticipated and analyzed. Most of the time these vulnerabilities are interrelated to hacking from outside the infrastructure, the careless opening of suspect emails by poorly trained employees, and other issues that can put the precious data of a company at risk. Additionally, the internal protocol for interacting with prospects and customers as well as third parties, needs to be crafted in such a way as to minimize a potential breach of security.

The Benefit of a Fresh Pair of Eyes

While it is important for an enterprise to address the vulnerabilities that they are aware of, the biggest threat usually comes from the vulnerabilities that are not seen and anticipated. This is why it is wise to bring in consultants and other folks from outside the organization that can view a business model with a fresh  pair of unbiased eyes. People within an organization often have a shared tunnel vision because they live and work with each other within a closed environment, where they are always promoting their views and biases. While this cross pollination of ideas and perceptions has advantages, it also creates blind spots.

The Risk Versus Reward Quotient

A good CIO is one that has the ability to guide their organization in identifying an extensive list of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed and then allocating the necessary funds to develop the appropriate security. The identification of vulnerabilities takes place by extracting critical information from both employees from the inside, and experts from outside of the organization that can see what employees may be missing. The allocation of funds needs to be viewed as an important investment, that will increase profits by reducing the costs that come from a security breach. Obviously, the CIO needs to avoid making unnecessary expenditures and they need to be able to reach a responsible balance between the risk versus reward quotient.

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