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Choosing the Right Cloud Storage Infrastructure for Improved Risk Management

The growing ubiquity of cloud storage has been accelerated substantially by a variety of factors, not the least of which has been the COVID-19 pandemic that has spiked cloud usage to complement, and in some cases even replace, on-premises storage. But with that growth of cloud storage has come a commensurate increase in risk as more data is in transit.

This has substantially increased the challenges associated with security breaches, data governance slip-ups, compliance violations and overall data protection issues. Grouped collectively under the umbrella of risk management, these issues must be properly addressed now and for the long haul. That means IT, storage and cloud decision-makers must make selecting the right cloud storage infrastructure a top priority to ensure robust risk management—specifically, cloud storage infrastructure fortified by risk management tools dedicated to such challenges as compliance and security.

Enterprises’ expanding risk profiles
The proliferation of security risks, along with cascading and always-changing compliance mandates in regions around the world, has made it more difficult than ever for storage administrators to keep up. The need to juggle incompatible software and management tools for cloud storage means that solutions need to be more automated in order to provide a single nexus of governance.

Risk factors also have expanded because of the reality that most data is “owned” by multiple stakeholders, such as application owners, infrastructure owners and business process owners. At the end of the day, the boundaries of how risk management is handled in a cloud storage environment have become extremely blurry.

Storage admins may not always know that a piece of data is highly sensitive from a compliance standpoint, and thus may not always storage it appropriately. Or, errors may occur in sharing the data from user to user and from location to location, such as email attachments being inadvertently sent to users with proper privileges and access to that data.

Addressing the problem
Storage administrators, IT professionals, cloud architects and business users all must be able to properly classify, categorize and properly handle sensitive data. But where do they start, and how can they create an automated “heat map” of critical, risk-rich data so it isn’t exposed to hackers or fall out of a state of compliance?

Consider the following steps:

  • Understand the expectation of the cloud service you are delivering. Storage is about data, but the data must be usable by the key constituents.
  • Analyze and decide on how widely available the data should be.
  • Determine who really needs access to that data, for what purposes and under what restrictions.
  • Decide how to protect the data according to its classification and data governance policy.

Obviously, that’s a tall order for already-stretched administrators, so automated, context-aware risk management should be built into cloud storage infrastructure.

NetApp’s solutions for cloud storage risk management
The increasing reliance on cloud storage for housing and managing an organization’s most sensitive data necessitates integrated risk management tools as part of an overall cloud storage environment. NetApp, a leader in cloud storage infrastructure, software and services, addresses these issues with Cloud Insights, a SaaS-based infrastructure and service monitoring solution for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments.

Cloud Insights is optimized for a wide range of risk management requirements, including compliance auditing and reporting, detecting ransomware and other security risks and ensuring alignment with data governance policies.

Deployed as a simple, turnkey solution, Cloud Insights provides connectors between storage and active directories to enhance data protection. It is further augmented by machine learning algorithms that automatically discern and apply user behavior patterns and to provide context-aware alerts when unusual activity occurs. Cloud Insights also provides visibility into the state of data in multiple panes of glass and automatically tags and categorizes data to determine if that data contains sensitive or personally identifiable information.

Cloud Secure, which is integrated into the Cloud Insights platform, automatically addresses the growing problem of ransomware through intelligent, real-time detection and prevention. It monitors file accesses and automatically determines if that access attempt is “typical” for the user and that data, thus providing greater protection against insider threats, zero-day attacks, ransomware or advanced persistent threats.

For more information on how NetApp cloud storage solutions can address a number of different risk management challenges, please visit https://cloud.netapp.com/cloud-insights.

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