Internet of Things

Do Your Homework When Choosing a Cloud Provider

Last week, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) hosted the Internet of Things, a summit that explored how the exponential growth of technology is transforming businesses.

The event, which took place at the Newark Liberty Airport Marriott, featured several engaging sessions spanning how to keep one’s business safe in today’s cyber-threat laden technological frontier, to breaking down the complexities of the blockchain concept.

One such session saw a diverse panel of technology professionals talk about the benefits for a business that chooses to migrate their data to the cloud, as well as provide strategies to avoid and deal with potential pitfalls.

“The fundamental purpose of information technology is to allow the business to carry out its strategy and beat its business goals and objectives,” said Michael Geraghty, chief information security officer for The State of New Jersey and director of the NJ Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell. “Sometimes that may mean keeping your IT processes and systems [in house,] and in other cases it may mean moving them to the cloud.”

This decision, and how encompassing it is, will vary from business to business, as some may lack the IT infrastructure necessary to maintain certain processes on their own.

Kris Laskarzewski, director of engineering at Domain Computer Services, pointed out that more than 70 percent of businesses today have some sort of cloud platform and utilize cloud-based services.

He highlighted how there are many different types of clouds which range in complexity. Outlook 365, for example, is one of the easiest to understand. He continued, “[Outlook 365] is simply an exchange server hosted by Microsoft, which means when a business uses it, it does not need to maintain the server itself.”

“Many of our clients, which are small- medium-sized businesses, are typically embracing cloud where the risk is low, such as for e-mail and anti-spam solutions,” Stew Smith, vice president, business development, Business Machine Technologies, said.

Smith added that scalability is a valuable benefit of cloud solutions, as a company can “test” the technology between select individuals first, before unveiling it to the entire company.

Most cloud-based platforms will still require due diligence from the company utilizing it to varying degrees. “At the end of the day, you are still accountable for your data,” Laskarzewski said. “[The provider] is not some cloud in heaven that will give you all the bells and whistles and guarantee you are compliant and secure. You need to understand the gaps that someone has to fill in from the management perspective as well.”

“If there is a breach in the cloud provider – and it’s your data – you own the responsibility of reaching out to your customers,” said Thomas DeMayo, director of IT risk advisory services at PKF O’Connor Davies. “You have to remember that your customers came to you and trusted you with their data. The cloud provider you chose is on you, so it is imperative to do your due diligence.”

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