Listen : Audio version of this article
Cloud-This word is very new to so many of us, but it does bring a question along with it. Can we trust it? When we really can’t see what is going on inside the cloud, can we blindly believe it? Cloud visibility is a concern growing in all the companies using cloud services.
Cloud services range from the email service you use to the webpages we all browse using web browsers like Chrome or Firefox. Anything can be uploaded to the cloud. Recently cloud gaming was experimented but latency is a big setback.
Why should we gain visibility in cloud?
By moving your data to the cloud, you trusted your vendor. Whether it is a Saas, Paas or Iaas services, you are storing your personal or your company data which is very valuable to you in someone else’s database. When in reality you can’t see what kind of traffic is requesting your data?
How did we do this before “Cloud” or Cloud Computing came into existence?
Traditionally, we had physical servers in offices with databases linked to them, we created LAN’s to serve the data throughout all the systems online in the office. Companies hired IT people and hardware experts to keep the data safe. In all ways the data is right in front of you. The Network engineers used Network Packet Brokers or taps to check all the inbound traffic requesting your data, that way keeping your data safe and secure.
What is Cloud? – in three simple sentences
Cloud is a shared pool of data centres. You pay for only what you use. You can scale up your requirements on-demand
What kind of Cloud Services are available?
With SaaS (Software as a Service), you can only get application level access. So, there is nothing much you can do about it. Think of Google Drive, Docs or Dropbox. You just dump your files via internet using a software level application.
But in PaaS (Platform as a Service), you have little more access, you can develop your own applications and run them or host them using cloud. Like Firebase or Firestore.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), is little interesting, because they are providing infrastructure as a service, so you can literally store, run, host or do anything you want under the sun. Even in this plan you will not get direct access to the Network traffic. This is where visibility comes in. You want to know who requested your data right? So, in the current infrastructure of cloud there is no way you can get all that information.
What is Cloud Visibility?
Taking advantage of this opportunity, companies like OpenDNS and IXIA proposed new infrastructure called VaaS, Visibility-as-a-Service. They offer VaaS through Saas or Iaas. VaaS through Saas is a better cloud visibility choice for general users. You don’t have to install and configure any of their services in your virtual machines. You can just type in the details and choose the plan and get traffic statistics right away. There is a bunch of functionality that comes along with VaaS. If you choose VaaS through Iaas, then it is little difficult but a better way if you want more customized information and statistics for your applications.
If you need a detailed report of the Network Traffic and statistics about the Malware or threats you need to have visibility beyond just uploading and downloading. This kind of visibility in your cloud networks provides deep insight on your audience and you can easily manipulate that data to serve exactly what your customers or clients need. This also helps in saving your money, because you don’t have to spend a ton on serving data which is redundant or not wanted by your clients. Visibility is needed to constantly skim the cloud networks and ward off the hacker attacks. Growing Cyber-attacks is a pressing concern for all the companies using cloud services.
Security is a big concern and you don’t have to invest a lot if you choose a trusted third party VaaS provider. VaaS providers offer a multitude of subscriptions tailored to the user’s needs.
It is time to gain visibility in the cloud networks and rightfully take what is yours.