It seems that every IT-related conversation involves some element of cloud today. From cloud-hosted email, to cloud-hosted file storage and even cloud-based telephony through the use of centrally hosted VoIP services.
Is there any limit to what can be based in the cloud?
Maybe not; and for smaller organisations whom find hosting their own services both inflexible and cost prohibitive, this brave new world is welcomed.
So, for those in pursuit of more cloud-based services and solutions, what is available?
Here are five cloud-based solutions which you might not have known existed.
1. SFTP/FTP Services
The humble FTP or SFTP server has been a staple for many organisations for decades. Providing an early “Dropbox” style solution for sharing of data and files between organisations and users.
Data transfer protocols are still very popular for automated transfers, EDI and applicability statement transfers, among other purposes.
As you had probably guessed, such solutions have moved on from being network bound and now take form as a cloud service.
[You may be interested to check out a solution such as Ipswitch Cloud]
2. User Repositories
You have probably heard of Azure…but have you heard of Azure AD?
That’s right, Microsoft has moved its ubiquitously used user directory system, Microsoft Active Directory, to the cloud. Allowing you to extend authentication services to internet-enabled applications, cloud services and personal devices.
[You may also enjoy reading "Everything you need to know about the Clash of the Cloud Providers"]
This is a god-send for network administrators and users alike. Administrators get to control single accounts centrally; and users no longer need separate accounts with separate usernames/passwords to remember for each.
…but don’t forget multi-factor authentication!
3. Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is becoming more and more popular due to its disproportionate security benefits versus its costs.
Infact in 2017, NIST recommended ending the practice of stipulating minimum password requirements and instead using multi-factor authentication to bolster defenses.
It has been shown in studies that when forced to choose “secure” passwords, humans will just attempt to out-fool the requirements, rather than coming up with a suitable password.
Things have moved on considerably from being a network-hosted appliance or service using a RADIUS connection between authenticator and multi-factor authentication solution.
Now multi-factor authentication solutions can be hosted in the cloud and support a variety of authentication protocols from RADIUS to SAMLv2.
[You could benefit from a solution such as SecurEnvoy Cloud]
4. Vulnerability Scanning
It used to be the case that vulnerability scanning was a tool used by auditors or organisations who needed to comply with a regulation, certification programme or industry standard.
In today's world of breaches, detecting and curing vulnerabilities is just as important as providing an email service to your users.
With the vast majority of breaches exploiting some form of known vulnerability, solutions which can detect and provide remediation steps are in high demand.
Good news that these services have also been ported to the cloud, ready to be consumed by the small to medium sized organisation market.
[You may want to learn more about a solution such as Tripwire IP360]
5. Backup Services
What is the best way to be hyper resilient to system outages, ransomware infections and unplanned changes?
Having a solid incident response plan is the cornerstone of a good cybersecurity defence. While there is no solution vendor or IT company which can guarantee you a breach free environment, they can offer hyper-resiliency and quick recovery times.
Backup services are now available in the cloud. Usually via an agent, a backup service will collect data throughout the night or at a time where business would be unaffected by large data transfers, and store it in the cloud.
Should you need it restored, by way of an initiated action in a management console, the agent should be able to perform the reverse, by way of a restore.
Low footprint, big impact.