It’s clear that cloud adoption has been accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic as organizations try to make documents and applications more accessible as remote working becomes the new norm. In fact, Microsoft recently revealed that the demands for cloud infrastructure has grown by 770% and this dependence will continue going into 2021 and beyond, especially for mid-market enterprises (MMEs).
Cloud enterprise software benefits are well documented for large enterprises, and these solutions can be applied to MMEs to improve business operations.
While MMEs may not have the spending budgets of large enterprises, IT software and hardware can still be of a cost for MMEs and so the cloud may seem like a luxury that’s just out of reach.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth because, as a business, you can choose what services to pay for – whether its basic or premium packages – and a monthly subscription payment package enables the business to reduce other software and hardware concerns.
With cloud services operating off sight, less equipment is required to run the service, and energy costs are reduced, enabling the company to expand in other areas.
Another benefit of cloud-based enterprise system for MMEs is the agility and convenience that these services offer. Cloud servers can handle practically unlimited amounts of data storage, meaning the risks of overloading your own company’s dedicated server are alleviated.
There is also committed support provided by the cloud supplier, so you never feel alone or lost if issues do arise.
What’s more, the cloud encourages collaboration as employees can access information and files from anywhere, whether it’s in the office, at home, or while travelling in real-time.
This in turn will increase productivity immediately and profitability in the long run.
While some MME’s may have a dedicated security team, it is less likely they will be able to handle the depth, knowledge and capability that is required for advanced cybersecurity threat management and data protection, particularly as the value and quantity of data increases.
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It can seem like a continuous arms race with demands of investment to the point it can become overly complex and expensive.
With cloud, this is avoided, as cloud providers are in prime position to offer straight forward management for what can seem like complicated infrastructure, and in doing so, minimizes any burden on MMEs.
This is a different ball game for large enterprises where things are mostly customized and more specific to unique business processes; and as it stands, there is not a one size fits all solution.
Concerns and responsibility
Despite the positives, cloud technology is unfortunately never far away from a negative headline. In fact, a recent IDC study revealed 80% of organizations had admitted to suffering a data breach involving the cloud.
The nature of the cloud is still manufactured with complex infrastructure underneath which may seem daunting for MMEs to fully grasp.
Then there is the assumption that responsibility for data security and meeting regulatory compliance is left with the cloud service provider.
Critically, when considering the agreements that come with utilizing the cloud, responsibility when it comes to compliance regulation and securing the data, falls at the feet of the data owner and not the cloud service provider.
While there are massive advantages to being in the cloud, MMEs must take very clear responsibility and understand the duties of care to the data of their consumers.
Many of the breaches that have occurred in the cloud are the result of security misconfigurations, human accidents, or vulnerabilities that have been exploited.
MMEs must ensure these environments are protected with the appropriate security measures as failure to do so will incur severe penalties for non-regulatory compliance which could be detrimental for any business.
With global and international data privacy laws like GDPR, LGPD, POPIA, CCPA and similar national privacy laws now in force, data privacy and security can no longer be ignored, and MMEs must understand this fact, or face the consequences.
MMEs should follow a data-centric approach
When evaluating the traditional security methods of old, the technology was fixated on locking the data away. This prevented the business from leveraging the data without it being protected.
This creates a dilemma where you either keep the data protected or you de-protect it to allow for data analysis.
Fortunately, there is an alternative called tokenization that can be leveraged in cloud environments that allows for secure data analysis. If data that has been tokenized is lost, leaked or compromised, it holds no value.
This is the sweet spot that organizations aim for. The benefits are huge as it gives MMEs the ability to move data without fear of exposure.
Also, businesses are free to collaborate with third parties whilst still preserving the analytic details knowing the exposure of live data in applications and processes, particularly in lower trust environments, is mitigated.
Protecting data as far upstream as possible will give you the most protection because then the data can travel anywhere in your company and still be protected.
Ultimately, technologies like tokenization and other data-centric securities are a powerful and effective way to migrate to the cloud and reduce risk and compliance burdens all at the same time.