The Importance of Cloud Security

Cloud security

As cloud technology evolves, so does the matter of security- whether there are enough cloud security measures implemented to avoid catastrophe. This is more true when dealing with the ever changing landscape of technology solutions. Cloud based solutions have brought numerous advancements in the industry. But a disaster such as the Apple iCloud leak back in 2014 can indicate, data within the cloud can be leaked. Thankfully the system has evolved over the years with numerous cloud security improvements.

Cloud is no longer a buzz word of the past. In today’s world, cloud technology is being implemented across several industries. Whether it is consumer application, business data storage, or software development- cloud computing is being used across several industry verticals. Cloud computing is mostly used for data storage capabilities. But there is so much more to cloud computing. Cloud computing enhances user’s computing capabilities, meaning users are not restricted to the limited resources of their physical computer. Cloud computing has brought scalability and flexibility to computing. The need for implementing complex systems have been taken out of the equation, rather cloud solutions made operations and development simpler for users. And this way of operations have immensely benefited one industry in particular- the pharmaceutical industry.

Why the pharmaceutical industry?

As cloud technology is being implemented across various industries, the need for cloud based solutions can be seen greatly in the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry deals with vast amounts of complex data. Cloud services such as Software as a Service (SaaS) is the bread and butter of the industry. In this case the cloud holds pharmaceutical specific software and data for the enterprises operating in the industry. These software being used by pharmaceutical enterprises collect crucial data and also have to process and move them at bulk. And cloud computing streamlines the whole process for the companies. Thus cloud security is an important concern in the pharmaceutical industry.

One of the reasons why cloud security for this industry has such big importance is the US and EU regulations. In December 2018, the FDA issued a Q&A  Guidance Document for the industry on “Data Integrity and Compliance with Drug CGMP” as a response to numerous data integrity violations during CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) inspections. And a more obvious reason for cloud security for the pharmaceutical industry is the nature of the data themselves. The complex and numerous data a pharmaceutical enterprise deals with is often crucial to operations, like R&D. So if the data gets leaked through malfunction or corporate espionage, the company will face massive losses and setbacks. Thus cloud security is a key factor when implementing cloud based technologies in the pharmaceutical industry.

How Brain Station Deals with Cloud Security

We at Brain Station are a top tier provider of cloud services, being the official partners of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle, and DigitalOcean. And we have provided our cloud services to various enterprises in the pharmaceutical industry. One of our notable clients happens to be the pharmaceutical enterprise, AbbVie.

Let’s have a look at our work with AWS for the leading pharmaceutical enterprise from Europe. We were migrating their salesforce data from Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). One of the first cloud security measures taken was that the whole process was to be conducted on AWS, not from a local PC. This prevents any possibility of  the data being intercepted or even any breach caused by an ill-practicing developer. We were tasked to transfer data from Vault and Veeva, the AEM end user solutions.

The data from the AEM end user solutions are stored in CIAM/CDP; a database for all the professionals to store their data. To ensure security of these valuable data, the whole development was done only on AWS; using a VPN to secure the connection and data transfer. So the admin end user can only access the CIAM/CDP through VPN usage.

cloud security

Source: An example of a secured dataflow by AWS

The Future of Cloud Security

With all that said, we all know that cloud technology will only evolve moving forward- maybe even become obsolete by the next technological disruption in the future. According to Gartner, most enterprises are focused on mitigating digital risks in the upcoming years, to make sure none of their valuable data does not fall in the wrong hands. But as cloud computing evolves, so does cloud security- as the security protocols need to keep up and counter any loopholes that can be exploited. After some extensive research on how we maintain our cloud security and many other professional sources- here are the key trends I believe we will be seeing for cloud security in the future.

  1. Inclusion of AI/ML As artificial intelligence is being implemented in all technological innovations, becoming a key player in industry 4.0. An article from The New Stack predicts that machine learning would become an integral in maintaining cloud security over the coming years. Machine Learning can detect and learn user behaviors and input- thus creating and changing security protocols for the users in order to keep intruders at bay.
  2. Manage Vulnerability With cloud computing advancing at rapid pace, it has become a necessity to train users on the importance and approaches to maintain cloud security. Cloud computing has evolved to the point that it is almost impossible to blame any mishap on the cloud service providers. ZYMR pointed out that cloud service providers update their security infrastructure regularly. The resulted security blunders usually comes in the form of remote work logging, insider threats, misconfigured systems, distributed denial of service, IT and OT convergence, compromise in credentials, insufficient due diligence, insecure APIs, crypto-jacking, weak security measures, IoT devices or containers, or any other unprecedented factor. This leads to the rise of many security microservices and containers in the future. The use of containerized apps have made it easy for users to manage and work on the cloud- as such any weak links are required to be exercised with proper audit and action.
  3. Cloud Related Regulations and Compliance I previously pointed out that to work in the pharmaceutical industry, software companies must adhere to regulations by Q&A guidelines of the FDA and CGMP practices. What holds in the future are more stringent and industry focused laws for cloud computing. In the present, there are many practices of cloud security through data encryption; and compliance regulation for banking and healthcare industries.

At the end of the day, cloud security must be ensured when using cloud computing services. This rings true for industries such as the pharmaceutical, where millions of valuable data is collected, stored, and worked on. With our extensive work in the pharmaceutical industry, we at Brain Station have secured the niche on providing the best technological innovations in the industry. And with any cloud computing services we cater, cloud security is our utmost priority and aim to deliver the best service.

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