No conversation about advancing technologies such as internet of things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence (AI), etc. is complete without a mention of cloud computing. Historically, the cloud was commonly misconstrued as some cosmic, hyperdimensional sphere where data went in and was either never seen again or was easily accessed by anyone with a pulse and an internet connection. Neither of these scenarios were actually the case, and the cloud has since emerged as a major player in the technology universe.
The cloud provides organizations with extensive computing power, abundant data storage and the ability to perform complex functions with a level of speed and precision that’s non-existent in on-premise IT infrastructures. Still, one aspect of the technology often called in to question is how secure is the cloud?
A recent webinar series featuring experts in both cloud technology and regulatory compliance addresses how more companies in the life sciences industry are migrating to cloud environments. Two of the presenters, Matt Lowe, executive vice president (EVP) at MasterControl and James R. Francum, chief executive officer (CEO) of cloud consulting firm, GxP-CC, unravel the five most common myths about cloud security.
Cloud is still an immature technology.
Cloud technology does not have the luxury of taking its time to come of age and find itself. Computer systems and software applications continue to get bigger and more complex, and data is becoming more abundant. Also, more organizations are operating globally, which means the workforce needs the ability to access systems and data from anywhere. Companies need to operate in the cloud in order to have the computing power necessary to operate these systems as well as collect, store and analyze more data.
Data in the cloud is easily accessed by hackers, governments and nation-states.
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The truth is, 100% data security does not exist in any computing environment. Technology is evolving rapidly as are methods for pernicious individuals to show up uninvited in networks and databases. However, it is safe to say that data is much more secure in the cloud because:
Cloud service providers have teams whose primary function is security. Few organizations have the time and resources to monitor, detect and thwart outside threats while overseeing other pressing IT administration needs.
Companies in multitenant cloud environments can easily access another company’s data.
Multitenant cloud computing environments enable multiple companies to share computing resources. This helps further alleviate the costs of IT operations. To prevent an organization’s data from spilling over into another organization’s data repositories, cloud environments are set up with logical separation to ensure data protection.
Cloud service providers regularly run incident response simulations that can automate intrusion detection and mitigation.
Storing data on your own server keeps it safe from intruders.
It seems logical that storing your data where you can keep an eye on it is the best way to keep it safe. Current cybersecurity statistics show that there is a ransomware attack on businesses every 14 seconds. By the end of 2020, it is expected to increase to every 11 seconds.1
In-house IT teams spend the bulk of their time keeping the network, IT components and user workstations functioning to ensure the business operates as it should. In the meantime, they need to review hundreds of different log files that are flagged by numerous security events — most of which are negligible. This scenario leaves little time and resources for detecting and mitigating the true threats.
On-premise vs. cloud security:
Cloud service providers don’t understand the data management and security needs of a regulated company.
Data management requirements for regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have compelled regulated organizations to reassess their data processes and how they handle sensitive data. Regulatory compliance for data stewardship includes strict guidelines for maintaining data integrity. It’s important to note that if data becomes corrupted or compromised due to alteration, a security breach or virus, it is no longer compliant with data integrity regulations.
Companies in all industries across the globe are using cloud technology to some extent. At a more granular level, survey data on cloud adoption revealed that cloud services in health care will grow to nearly $9.5 billion in 2020.2 With such a large client base in the life sciences industry, cloud service providers are obligated to be well versed in the regulatory arena. It is their responsibility to ensure their regulated customers are able to meet every compliance requirement to the letter. Operating in the cloud actually makes compliance easier because cloud service providers manage dozens of compliance programs for their infrastructure — any data stored on the cloud is automatically compliant.
How Cloud Is Reshaping the Life Sciences Industry
Safety, quality, efficacy and data integrity are essential with regulated products. This means all of an organization’s IT infrastructure components, systems and applications involved in any phase of product development require validation. Completing validation tasks in an on-premise environment is arduous and time intensive. Fortunately, validation processes are adapting to take advantage of cloud-based technology.
Expand your understanding of the cloud and how validation works in a cloud environment with MasterControl’s Cloud Security and Validation webinar series. Register here
David Jensen is a content marketing specialist at MasterControl, where he is responsible for researching and writing content for web pages, white papers, brochures, emails, blog posts, presentation materials and social media. He has over 25 years of experience producing instructional, marketing and public relations content for various technology-related industries and audiences. Jensen writes extensively about cybersecurity, data integrity, cloud computing and medical device manufacturing. He has published articles in various industry publications such as Medical Product Outsourcing (MPO) and Bio Utah. Jensen holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Weber State University and a master’s degree in professional communication from Westminster College.