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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Cloud Computing: Best approach to SME IT compliance - ITREALMS

CloudZone@ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news!

The importance of mitigating risk is fundamental to the achievement of any business objective. More so in this era where digitalization is the order of the day with computer systems coming in various forms.
The digital world makes it a necessity for all industries to perform their business operations with sophisticated systems in order to thrive.

The increase in data and information sharing as a result of reliance on technology and consumer expectations makes organizations guilty of information failures due to inadequate infrastructure and weak or non-existent compliance measures.

IT Compliance is now the bedrock for organizations to achieve their business goals. It is embedded in the decision-making and forms part of the Governance of any organization. The need for IT Risk & Compliance cannot be overemphasized due to the exponential rate of security breaches across the globe.

Cybercriminals are leveraging even more sophisticated tools, techniques, and procedures (TTP) which are outpacing standalone security solutions.

In 87 per cent of network breaches, cybercriminals compromise the network within minutes or less, but only 3 
per cent of breaches are discovered quickly.

76 
per cent of breaches are financially motivated.

Gartner shows that in 2020, 30 per cent of global enterprises would have been directly compromised by an independent group of cyber threat actors or cyberactivists.

Therefore, to manage IT Risk and compliance, organizations require state-of-the-art IT assets and architecture. This can be overwhelming for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to mitigate risk and comply with industry standards.

However, cloud computing has eased this pain and allows SMEs to effortlessly comply with related industry standards. Cloud computing provides the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power without direct active management by the user.

Enterprises transfer their risk to Cloud service providers and also comply with Industry standards when they subscribe to a cloud computing platform.

With many pros to cloud computing, it is evidentially that enterprises improve their IT operations and are more secure. Clouds may be limited to a single organization (enterprise clouds) or provided to multiple organizations (public cloud). Cloud computing depends on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale. Public and hybrid clouds allow companies to avoid or minimize up-front IT infrastructure costs. Also, cloud computing enables enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with enhanced manageability and less maintenance allowing IT teams to better adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable demand.

The growth of cloud computing is exponential as the global cloud computing market size is expected to grow from USD 371.4 billion in 2020 to USD 832.1 billion by 2025. The African cloud market is expected to grow over USD 2 billion with over a quarter of the growth affiliated to the Nigerian cloud market. 

The exponential growth of cloud computing is due to the availability of high-capacity networks, low-cost computers, and storage devices along with the widespread adoption of hardware virtualization, service-oriented architecture, and autonomic and utility computing.

SMEs are better enabled to mitigate risk and comply with related industry standards as they could adopt any of the main service models of cloud computing;

  • IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service) – With over 12% of the cloud computing market share, it offers the fundamental infrastructure of virtual servers, networks, operating systems, and data storage drives. This is ideal for SMEs looking for a cost-effective IT solution as it enables flexibility, reliability, and scalability that many businesses seek with the cloud and rids the need for hardware in the office.
  • PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) – Cloud computing service providers deploy the infrastructure and software framework, but organizations can develop and run their own applications. This solution is highly scalable and ideal for business environments where multiple developers are working on a single project.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service) – This solution involves the deployment of software over the internet to various organizations that subscribe to a pay-per-use model. Better for tools and applications that use a lot of webs or mobile access.
IT Compliance ensures appropriate control of and protecting information on how it is obtained and stored, how it is secured, its availability (internal and external distribution). More times than not, organizations have to comply with international, local, and regional restrictions.

Some of the most common standards affecting IT compliance including but not limited to:

· ISO/IEC 27000-series

· The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

· The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

· Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

· The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

· HIPAA

· Basel III

The dependency of businesses to meet with IT Compliance varies with the industrial sector they fall under. Financial institutions are the most targeted by cyber actors and so, therefore, face more stringent requirements to meet IT compliance.

To conclude, SMEs and Startups are leveraging Cloud computing for a plethora of benefits. The Cloud service provider’s IT compliance will suffice for every enterprise subscribed to its platform.

In addition, the listed pros are even more evident post-COVID, and businesses of all sizes are banking on Cloud computing to enhance operations, security, and achieve business goals.

· Lower revenues post COVID, with lower IT spend

· Clouds offer Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) cost savings of over 70%

· On-premise kit reaching End of Life (EOL) has high a replacement cost

· Agility, Speed to market, low risk, high security, more efficient use of resources

· WFH (Work from Home) remote working is more adequate using Cloud.

· Seamless achievement of related IT compliance.

*Contributed by Aderemi Adejumo has a Civil Engineering degree from City University, London and a MBA from Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, with over 30-year experience in technology, having worked in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Switzerland before moving back to Nigeria. He is currently the Managing Director of Cloudflex Computing Service Ltd and could be reached via: radejumo@cloudflex.ng

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