Should organizations put corporate applications in the cloud?
By: Oscar Visaya, Country Manager F5 Networks Philippines
There once was a time when organizations wouldn’t consider deploying critical applications in the cloud. It was too much of a business risk from both an access and an attack perspective.
This has changed. Over the last few years, cloud computing has emerged as an option for enterprises delivering applications quickly, efficiently, and securely.
Today, almost 70 percent of organizations are using cloud technology. According to the latest Cisco Global Cloud Index, for 2014 to 2019, global cloud traffic will more than quadruple over the next five years to reach 8.6 zettabytes by the end of 2019. The same report projects that by 2019, 4 out of 5 data center workloads will be processed in the cloud.
This growth is to support today’s on-demand, always connected lifestyle, where content and information must be accessible anytime, anywhere, and on any screen. Mobility is the new normal, and the cloud is the platform to deliver this content.
However, most IT organizations want the cloud benefits without the risks. They want the economics and speed of the cloud without worrying about the security and integration challenges. Kaspersky Lab reports thePhilippines took a huge jump from previous quarter’s rank to the 33rd spot out of 233 countries prone to cyber security threats.
Security breaches can come from anywhere
Today, anything can pose a potential security risk, and unauthorized access is a top data security concern. Use of the corporate network itself has become insecure, even with firewalls in place. Gone are the days of “trusted” and “untrusted,” as the internal network is now dangerous. Even connecting to the corporate network via VPN can be risky due to the network challenges.
Going against the current trend, organizations are now placing critical applications in the cloud and facing the challenge of providing secure user access. Typically, organizations store and manage user credentials in the cloud as the application itself can authenticate if a user can be allowed access or not. With this, however, organizations need to keep close control over user credentials. Just think: for global organizations, the number of identities can be in the thousands, and they’re scattered across geographies, markets or brands. It then becomes a significant challenge for the organization’s IT, as they have to check the credentials of the user, and then direct them to the proper resources. The goal is to allow users with proper credentials to access corporate data from anywhere in the world with the right devices, in a secure manner.
Helping organizations secure user access
Authentication, authorization, and encryption help provide the fine-grained access, regardless of the user’s location and network. Employee access is treated the same whether the user is in a corporate office, at home, or connected to an open Wi-Fi network in a bookstore. This eliminates the traditional VPN connection to the corporate network and also encrypts all connections to corporate information, even from the internal network.
For organizations that want this kind of scenario, there is the F5 BIG-IP platform, which can be deployed in both the primary and cloud data centers. BIG-IP intelligently manages all traffic across the servers to ensure the availability and security of cloud resources. To illustrate, one pair of BIG-IP devices takes care of the servers in the core network, while another pair is in charge of the directory servers in the perimeter network. This way, the traffic to and from both the primary and directory servers is managed for both the internal and external employees.
In the Philippines now, more and more organizations in the Telecommunications, Financial Services, Government and Manufacturing sectors are already transitioning their corporate applications to cloud deployments. If it could provide agility, flexibility, and secure access to support the overall business strategy, what’s stopping you from doing the same?
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