Improve your IT security Off to the cloud

Companies should take current threats and the debate about PRISM and tenses as an opportunity to think about their IT security again. Almost every day we receive reports of IT attacks on companies and public institutions, massive amounts of stolen data and immense destruction of value through failures.

Despite the ongoing media coverage, many companies still believe that they are adequately covered. Virtualizing IT is a great way to improve your security with little effort.

One can assume that targeted attacks on small and medium-sized businesses will continue to increase and the question arises as to how one can protect oneself against previously unknown Trojans, malware and bot systems in the future. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute *, IT and IT security professionals are most frequently confronted with intellectual property theft in the areas of research and development, business planning and industrial processes.

Another target of network attacks is confidential information that is used to obtain credentials in order to break into networks and corporate systems. In addition, many small and medium-sized companies often misjudge their level of security and the legal consequences. This can be remedied by virtualization or the outsourcing of IT, especially for smaller companies. With the right provider, you will no longer have to worry about IT security in the future, which will also improve your performance.

Virtualization as a security strategy

Like no other technology at the moment, virtualization is a growth driver for companies. Companies benefit from cost savings through to greater flexibility, agility and scalability. But this not only brings advantages: the mobility and use of private end devices is an additional security risk, as business information is available everywhere.

Those who entrust their IT to a specialist protect themselves against such dangers. IT security can be enormously improved with virtualization. Data is more secure in the German data center of the provider he trusts than on his own in-house server. In addition, you use high-quality security solutions from established manufacturers without having to pay more for them or have to worry about them.

The concept of desktop virtualization enables device-independent access for every user. Virtual Windows applications and desktops are no longer on the employee’s computer, but are made available and managed in the provider’s external data center.

This enables secure access to the desktop workstation for every employee via any private or company-owned end device. The centralization of IT resources and the provider’s strict access controls also make it much easier to avoid data loss and to comply with compliance and data protection standards.

State-of-the-art access controls or multiple redundant server systems are standard equipment in data centers or in system houses. The complete logging, reporting and checking of all activities are ensured by the respective provider. Policies can be set to ensure that all business requirements are met. New specifications are incorporated as soon as they are known. The service provider can also provide support for audits of any kind.

Start of IT virtualization

The basis of desktop virtualization is the centralization of the workstations in the external data center. Outsourcing the entire IT is even more effective. Providers of such solutions have to adhere to high security standards and offer security concepts that many companies cannot afford or manage themselves. The security of company data and all communication is covered by the provider’s IT security concept. The security service is provided for a large number of customers. Expensive security technologies and complex measures therefore only burden the individual company at a fraction of the usual costs.

There are also other advantages for the infrastructure and the associated costs. In order to avoid failures or impairments, the provider aligns the IT systems so that there are no more capacity bottlenecks. In addition, the company no longer has to invest in new hardware as it grows, but only books additional capacities with its service provider. The resulting costs are not long-term costs, but monthly fixed costs for renting the IT. Smaller companies in particular are given the opportunity to use and secure their IT at an above-average level.

Which cloud solution is the right one?

A private cloud is usually more useful for larger companies with 200 or more PC workstations and a well-structured IT department, since server operating systems, hardware, licenses and technical know-how must be provided here. With an IT-as-a-service solution, the IT can be completely outsourced and obtained turnkey from the cloud. There is enormous potential behind this service offer, especially for small and medium-sized companies: Instead of one-time, large investments with high administration costs, flexible IT, including support, maintenance and security concept, can be obtained at a fixed monthly price.

Legal security requirements & security and risk analysis

There are several decisions to be made when choosing the right provider. The number of solutions and providers is still comparatively manageable. In addition to the technical framework and the contractual conditions, trust in the partner should initially play a major role. Because the relationship is much closer because the entire IT system is based on the provider’s infrastructure. In particular, it should also be clarified which legal security requirements must be observed.

Together with the service provider, these are considered and recorded for the outsourcing of IT in a security and risk analysis. It is determined which legal and organizational requirements, in particular for data protection, apply. From this information, the security requirements to be met can be derived and a decision can be made as to which strategy is best suited for the company.

5 tips for choosing

1. Inquire about server locations If you want to protect your data in accordance with European regulations, you should look for a European provider who has signed the agreement. This guarantees European security standards.

2. Attention to data protection Data protection should always be regulated by a contract that a good service provider makes available to his customers. Order data processing contracts (ADV for short) regulate the fulfillment of the requirements of the Federal Data Protection Act for a company. This ensures the highest possible level of security during audits.

3. Encrypted connections All data traffic to the provider should be encrypted. This reduces the risk of being spied on.

4. Advice from specialists Choose a cloud specialist who has many years of experience in IT virtualization or who has developed his own system. In addition, it should also be able to offer competent advice as well as fast support and maintenance services. The offer can also be checked by a special security advisor.

5. Think sustainably When choosing the right provider, a solution should be chosen that can be developed further with the company without any problems and without great costs.

Source: * Whitepaper “Efficiency of New Network Security Technologies”. Conducted independently by Ponemon Institute LLC in 2013.

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