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How does cloud migration help with compliance in education?

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Cloud computing has the ability to provide many advantages for the education sector, but there are, of course, many barriers when trying to achieve a successful digital transformation to a serverless, cloud native architecture. Along with the healthcare industry, compliance in education is strict and can make the already complicated migration process unbearable. This also isn’t helped by a lack of guidance from official bodies, leaving both physical and online schools to navigate various cloud migration strategies alone.

A successful cloud migration means a compliant one, and schools need to have certain conditions in place to ensure this. Thankfully, there are now examples to lean on of best practices that will leave schools confident they are complying while migrating. This may include some modifications to existing IT infrastructure and processes.

Let’s take a look at the many hurdles, or concerns, that educational institutions face when undertaking a cloud migration and how they can adhere to and even improve their level of compliance.

 

Concerns about cloud migration in education

 

Compliance, security, and data protection are paramount to decision-makers here. They need to pinpoint the data they store and manage, and understand the compliance and data protection implications of transferring it to the cloud. This might involve holding sensitive data in on-premise servers, held securely using the school’s current IT infrastructure, or adding additional levels of security for particular types of data.

 

For IT professionals, the benefits of migrating to the cloud clearly outweigh the alternative, but for educational organizations, there are still some concerns: 

  • Security – Educational establishments of all types must adhere to strict security and privacy standards and comply with many specific education laws. They must ensure all confidential student information is kept secure through the migration process and beyond. IT administrators must consider data collection, making sure the cloud provider’s practices are transparent and guaranteed with contractual obligations to protect the school’s data.
  • Data ownership – Schools own their data and students own their data, but the school and cloud provider is responsible for keeping it secure. IT administrators have to make sure that data ownership regulations are adhered to when selecting their cloud provider. They also need to be able to easily monitor their data security and also see who is accessing what and when. 
  • Limited Customization – Migrating to a new IT infrastructure may hamper the school’s ability to customize its front and back-end architecture for students and staff. Customization of individual or group workspaces is a key component of a school’s offering nowadays. For example, IT administrators need to be able to seamlessly personalize any cloud desktop with certain applications and access. 

 

Benefits of cloud migration for schools

 

These concerns can easily be flipped to benefits if all compliance issues are properly considered and nullified.

The advantages to education institutions by migrating to the cloud essentially comes down to four main things: ease of access, cost reduction, centralized management, and improved scalability. With the right cloud provider and tools, migrating end-user computing environments to the cloud is very easy, giving IT administrators more time to focus on creative projects. 

By integrating formerly siloed systems in a cloud infrastructure, students, teachers, and administrators can access all school systems from one place. Moreover, cloud migration not only eradicates capital expenditure on legacy systems, but the organizations only have to pay for the cloud resources they use. 

Perhaps most notable of all the benefits, schools will be able to attract modern, digitally-savvy students who are looking for a forward-thinking establishment that is offering them the mobile, always-on education experience that is becoming more popular year by year.

 

Compliance 101

 

Compliance seems to be a subject covered in mystery, requiring a lot of labor-intensive work to understand and adhere to. However, it’s actually quite simple. Essentially, compliance in an education setting involves ticking the right boxes and making sure everything works correctly.

 

In the case of cloud compliance, educational organizations must have the proper systems and practices in place to satisfy regulations and laws relevant to their industry, such as GDPR, for example. 

 

While educational compliance laws and standards vary across education levels and regions, they usually address the same challenges:

 

  • Data transfer
  • Data access
  • Data security responsibility
  • Data visibility

 

How does cloud migration help with compliance in the education sector?

 

While it may seem scary and present many serious risks, if done correctly with the correct tools and partners, the cloud presents many significant benefits to educational institutions. A successful cloud migration can help schools meet ever-changing compliance regulations, which in turn will help them develop an evolving infrastructure. 

 

Data protection

 

Bespoke systems and procedures can be deployed across singular and hybrid-cloud environments that carry out continuous scans and security audits to ensure compliance and save IT administrators time. 

 

Data visibility

 

On-premises solutions can only deliver network-level insights and won’t give you the entire story because of privacy concerns. A cloud platform improves visibility across various networks, security procedures, and more so compliance problems are recognized and rectified quickly and efficiently.

 

Data security responsibility

 

The tiresome chore of manually monitoring, maintaining, and configuring your systems to remain compliant is no more. That’s right, automated operating controls and security measures ensure regulations are implemented and enforced on a large scale.

 

Data access

 

Easier access and management of all systems, permissions, accounts, etc. A seamless cloud environment with all necessary applications for students, teachers, and administrators accessible with ease.

 

Conclusion

 

Education institutions are encountering substantial new IT challenges nowadays. From 3facilitating increasingly digital-native pupils to having to adhere to stricter compliance regulations, CIOs are having to make bold changes to the way they approach their institution’s IT infrastructure. They’re also being pressured to reduce costs while enhancing the overall educational experience for both teachers and pupils. Today’s students grew up in a world with connected devices and expect the latest technology in school with seamless ways to access it. To address these challenges, more and more schools are undertaking a cloud native migration utilizing GKE and are quickly realizing how the cloud can aid their compliance adherence.

 

If you’re thinking about undertaking a cloud migration, talk to the experts first. Contact us here for a free consultation.

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How to Stay Compliant When Deploying Fintech in Public Clouds

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Staying compliant when deploying fintech in a public cloud is really about knowing how to avoid the landmines. In this article, we’ll point out some of the more important ones and what you can do to avoid them.

 Landmine #1: Waiting Until it’s Too Late

Many fintech companies deploying in a public cloud don’t think about compliance until it’s too late. Perhaps that’s because they incorrectly assume you’ll be in compliance by default. That somehow AWS or Google Cloud will just “handle it”.

The bad news is that these public clouds don’t just handle compliance for fintechs—it’s up to you. The good news is they offer plenty of support. This includes things like compliance and governance services, documentation, frameworks, and tools.

In the case of AWS, “customers can access controls that have been tested and validated by third-party auditors across ISO, PCI, SOC, and other certifications.” While Google Cloud promotes its support for The Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT), an upcoming regulatory obligation for U.S. broker-dealer firms.

The best first step when deploying fintech in a public cloud comes before you actually deploy. You start by understanding your compliance requirements and investigating what products and services are available from your cloud service provider (CSP) to meet those obligations.

Landmine #2: Using White Label Financial Services

In an effort to deploy fast, it’s not uncommon for financial service firms to white label part or all of their fintech applications. White labeling generally refers to software that has been purchased from a software developer and rebranded as your own. In the case of deploying in a public cloud, white labeling means integrating your fintech app with other financial services, like a trading platform already connected to an exchange.

While this is certainly a good strategy to speed up product development, it can create challenges when it comes to compliance. Not only does your application need to be compliant, but the white label service you hook into also has the same compliance requirements. And since compliance tends to be based on geography, there is no guarantee the while label service even cares about your compliance needs. That’s why many fintech companies struggle to comply with overseas regulations.

To complicate matters, some regulations require scheduled reporting of transactions, with large fines in the case of even a few hours delay. Clearly incorporating white label services into your fintech requires proper planning, monitoring, and control.

You may not have to build the white label service, but you do have to investigate it as if you had. Before committing to integrating with any white label service, you must understand how it is compliant with typical fintech regulations (e.g., PCI-DSS, SEC Rule 17-a-4(f), Reg SCI, EU Data Protection Directive, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171).

Landmine #3: Trying to do KYC Manually

If you’re planning on deploying a fintech service, then you’re probably aware your service will have to engage in Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance, to identify and verify customers’ identities. But even then, there’s a pitfall that can trip you up: trying to do KYC manually.

You cannot do KYC manually and survive in fintech—it’s just not possible. Fortunately, as digital transformation continues to impact every business, the financial services industry is migrating to eKYC. eKYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) is the remote, paperless process that minimizes the costs and traditional bureaucracy necessary in KYC processes.

This makes perfect sense. There’s just one problem. Public clouds do not offer any eKYC related services. There are bespoke automation products on the market (e.g., onfido, shuftiPro, sumsub), but in most cases, these are not what you’ll need. Moreover, most of them will process and/or store your clients’ confidential KYC data in their cloud, also not what you need.

These same challenges exist with KYB (Know Your Business), a set of regulations related to KYC. Whether KYC or KYB, you know your fintech app can’t do it manually and may not be able to take advantage of existing services. It’s a challenge you need to think through before you embark on your fintech in a public cloud.

The Cost of Noncompliance

What’s the cost of not staying compliant when deploying fintech? It can be pretty hefty. According to Fintech Futures, the 10 largest regulatory fines from all over the world in 2020 ranged from £37.8 million by FCA for AML (anti-money laundering) failings to $3 billion by Wells Fargo for fraudulent account furore.

The remarkable thing is the fine may be more costly than the financial crime that triggered the regulatory violation. Accordingly, the 2019 whitepaper, Financial Crime Compliance: The Cost of Getting it Wrong, “suggested that regulatory fines pose the most obvious, immediate and sometimes the most severe impact to company balance sheets.” For example, “in the Netherlands, ABN Amro reached a €480 million settlement, including a €300 million fine, after an investigation found it had overlooked numerous indications of money laundering and related financial crime.”

What can we take from this? Whatever investment is required to keep your fintech in compliance in cloud operations, it’s worth it. You cannot spend too much on compliance in this area.

Summary 

Deploying a fintech SaaS solution in a public cloud is a fast-growing business model, as it scales extremely well and addresses many unmet needs. But deploying fintech in a public cloud comes with serious compliance requirements and those requirements have some well-defined landmines.

We covered some of those challenges in this article. Addressing compliance from the start, being cautious with white label services, and taking advantage of eKYC are just three of the more prominent ones. But the cost of non-compliance is too high to ignore them, so be sure to incorporate them into your business plan.

In the next article, the final one in the series, we’ll discuss How to Stay Secure After Deploying Your Fintech SaaS in a Public Cloud.

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Medical Privacy and Cloud Computing Security Solutions

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Medical Privacy and Cloud Computing Security Solutions

Cloud computing is a relatively new technology that is expected to transform the healthcare industry. It has many advantages such as flexibility, cost and energy savings, resource allocation, and faster distribution, which are becoming more crucial with the emergence of highly efficient bioinformatics technologies that are increasing the volume, variety, and velocity of data substantially. In this blog, we look at the use of serverless solutions like cloud computing in the medical industry and different cloud security and privacy challenges. 

 

The centralization of data in the cloud raises many concerns relating to safety and privacy for individuals and healthcare providers. Notably, it provides the attackers with a single hot-zone to steal data and capture data-in-motion, and transfers data ownership to cloud service providers. Therefore, individuals and healthcare providers lose control of sensitive data. As a result, privacy, security, efficiency, and scalability worries are preventing the widespread adoption of cloud technology in this global industry.

 

Confidentiality and Privacy of Medical Information

 

When it comes to the healthcare industry and patient-professional relationships, few things are as important as privacy and confidentiality. This is an act of ensuring that patient data is kept completely disclosed to unauthorized organizations and users.

 

First, to ensure protection from unauthorized access or misuse of private patient medical information, establishing identity ownership is required. The ownership of healthcare information can be protected by a combination of encryption methods that lead to protected healthcare information that can be sent, accessed, or removed without the joint consent of all parties involved in the ownership/creation of health information.

 

Patients may allow or refuse to share their personal information with other healthcare providers. To facilitate the seamless sharing of patient data throughout the healthcare system via the cloud, the patient may assign rights to healthcare professionals according to the role or qualifications held by the appropriate user to share certain information with that user.

 

However, transferring data control to the cloud leads to an increased risk of data compromise, as data is available in an additional number of places to multiple groups. Due to the increasing number of groups, devices, and applications involved, there is an increase in the data being compromised. Moreover, the threat of data breach can damage patient/professional relationships and interfere with proper medical diagnosis and treatment.

 

To make this relationship work, it is necessary for the patient to trust the healthcare system to protect the privacy of their data. If a patient feels that the information they are providing to the doctor is not protected and that their privacy is threatened, they may be more selective about the information they provide. Of course, privacy and confidentiality can be achieved with reliable cloud security solutions with robust access controls and tight encryption techniques.

 

Benefits of Cloud Computing for the Healthcare Industry

 

Cloud computing is a new technology that will have a huge impact on society as a whole. With increased accessibility to computer resources and infrastructure, the healthcare industry is expected to adopt an information-centric model, while facilitating communication, collaboration, and communication between various healthcare providers.

 

Additionally, the cloud could help the healthcare industry provide more value. It can offer faster, more flexible, and less expensive applications and infrastructure. This exciting technology would also assist in maintaining, managing, protecting, and sharing electronic health records, laboratory and pharmacy information systems, and medical images. Overall, patients will receive better care due to updated health records and ongoing communication between different healthcare providers. Aside from the lack of standards, regulations, and interactivity issues, major barriers to large-scale adoption of cloud computing by healthcare providers are security, confidentiality, and reliability issues.

 

The cloud has many benefits.

 

  • Cost savings: no need to buy hardware and expensive software. Savings include direct costs of purchasing hardware and software as well as support and maintenance costs.
  • Improved patient care as a result of ongoing patient communication with various healthcare stakeholders. Patient details are available whenever and wherever doctors can diagnose and evaluate them.
  • Energy-saving: There is no need for expensive data centers in buildings.
  • Data availability: information is available to all healthcare stakeholders such as doctors, clinics, hospitals, and insurance companies.
  • Powerful disaster recovery: in an emergency, almost all cloud service providers provide timely assistance and recovery.
  • Research: The cloud is a repository of data that can be used to support national research, disease control, and epidemics.
  • Resolving resource shortages: doctors in remote areas can use telemedicine to conduct consultations.
  • Fast shipping: software and hardware programs can be used almost immediately.

 

Why Effective Cloud Security Is So Important

 

Cloud computing offers multiple opportunities and challenges. Like all other IT systems, the cloud has a variety of security issues and concerns. Often operating in an open and shared area, it is vulnerable to data loss, theft, and malicious attacks. Weak cloud security is one of the key issues preventing the full incorporation of cloud computing in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals have many reasons to distrust the cloud, for example, they cannot give away power to their secured medical records.

 

Cloud providers often store their data in different data centers located in different parts of the world. This shows a clear advantage, because data storage in the cloud will be redundant, and in the event of attempted theft, various data centers will help to recover from disasters.

 

On the other hand, this same benefit can create a security challenge because data stored in various locations will be prone to theft. Generally speaking, there are many security risks associated with the use of cloud-based failures to distinguish visible users, identity theft, copyright infringement, and improper encryption are among the security concerns.

 

The cloud has many limitations:

 

  • Availability and reliability: the service may be slow or disrupted depending on the strength of the Internet connection. This will greatly affect the user experience.
  • Collaboration: there is a need for certain levels to achieve effective communication and collaboration between the various forms of healthcare providers.
  • Security and privacy: an open and shared environment is prone to data loss and theft.
  • Law and regulations: the widespread adoption of cloud computing requires laws, regulations, and ethical and legal frameworks.
  • Limited control and flexibility: there is limited power to data ownership due to its breadth. Cloud applications are often standardized and custom software can be difficult to acquire.

 

With effective cloud security solutions from a reliable and trusted provider, these concerns and vulnerabilities will soon be a thing of the past.

 

Conclusion

 

Security is one of the major problems preventing the rapid adoption of cloud computing technology in the healthcare industry. The power and benefits of cloud computing far outweigh its dangers and threats. Security needs are difficult to meet without significant investments in infrastructure and personnel. The problem is that security equals poor consumer convenience. In other words, the more complex security measures are, the more comfortable consumers are, and as a result, will not be inclined to use cloud service.

 

Moreover, with specialized fields emerging that sit at the cross-section of computer science and medical research that produce vast amounts of data, effective cloud computing solutions are becoming increasingly necessary. The use of Immunoinformatics for efficient antibody discovery is a good example, as it requires efficient processing and storage of huge amounts of data, utilizing cloud computing and intensive computational methods to define new hypotheses related to immune responses.

 

Making digital transformation or moving organization data to the cloud is a strategic and complex decision. Before moving data to the cloud, security challenges should be minimized. Before choosing a cloud security provider, the following questions should be asked:

 

  • Is the ISO / IEC 27017 provider certified?
  • Is the provider compliant with privacy management practices?
  • Are providers trained in risk management and risk management?
  • Does the provider perform a periodic safety check?

 

To find out more about cloud security solutions in general and to understand up to date certifications such as ISO 27017, read our previous blog post here:

Cloud Security and ISO 27017

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Cloud Security and ISO 27017

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Cloud Security and ISO 27017

As we move forward in the 21st century, old-school business practices have been replaced by more sophisticated systems and processes that increase the speed and accuracy of operations but leave organizations at greater risk to modern threats like cyberattacks. What may seem like an innocent database of corporate customer information is actually a great asset for hackers.

 

For companies that rely on the cloud for the storage of sensitive information and critical cloud native processes, dependable cloud security solutions, preferably in line with ISO standards, are imperative. 

 

Moreover, with an increasing number of companies utilizing cloud native principles to host and deploy applications via the cloud, the security of their cloud-based infrastructure becomes even more paramount.

 

Cloud Security

 

Cloud security is a cyber security discipline devoted to protecting cloud computing infrastructures. This includes keeping data confidential and secure across all Internet-based systems, applications, and platforms. Protecting these systems requires the combined efforts of cloud providers and customers who use them, whether individuals, startups, or multinational commercial enterprises.

 

Cloud providers host services on their servers through an always-on internet connection. Since their business relies on customer loyalty, cloud security measures are used to keep customer data confidential and secure. However, cloud security is also partly in the hands of customers. Understanding both of these frameworks is critical to a healthy cloud security solution.

 

What is ISO 27017?

 

How can your organization continue to enjoy the speed and efficiency of cloud storage while maintaining a secure cloud infrastructure and protecting your customer data? This is where ISO 27017 comes into play.

 

It is a security standard and technique designed for users and cloud service providers that ensures a safer cloud-based environment and minimizes the risk of security problems. It is also used for integrating cloud-based security controls used by or provided by an organization. It is a set of security controls based on the ISO 27002 guidelines that govern the safe and efficient operation of cloud services that keep your organization and your customer data safe from external threats. ISO 27017 captures all the risk-based thinking and security considerations needed to stay online and applies them directly to the security of cloud storage.

 

We understand that maintaining advanced cloud security systems can be a complex and time-consuming process, with the problem being exacerbated in the case of small organizations that do not have the resources to hire someone specifically for this job. ISO 27017 helps to ease the burden on the organization by introducing a management team with primary risk areas to manage and a set of proven best practices to secure your cloud systems.

 

Why Is ISO 27017 Important?

 

Quality assurance of Cloud Storage Information Technology such as ISO is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, if an organization’s systems are to be compromised, fines and sanctions may prove to be a significant threat to the survival of a business. Depending on the country, there are strict penalties for organizations that have failed to properly protect their networks and cloud infrastructure, let alone the irreparable damage to the organization’s reputation in the eyes of their customers.

 

A report from tech giant IBM states that on average, data breaches cost $3.8 million to completely repair. For example, British Airways has been fined in excess of £180m (revised to £20m) for violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) customer data protection laws. British Airways was aware of its 429,000 customers accessed by an unauthorized third party and is now paying a hefty sum for failing to protect its systems.

 

Misconfigured or improperly secured cloud storage systems are one of the most common causes of data breaches, and they add in the range of $500,000 in damages, meaning organizations do not yet see the value of properly securing cloud storage and internal networks, or the consequences of failing to do so. Implementing the ISO 27017 system ensures that the cloud storage used by your organization is configured according to the highest standard of cloud security to nullify any potential breaches.

 

Second, it is important to show your customers that your organization does take seriously the threat of data breaches, being on the front foot when it comes to rectifying any shortcomings in its information technology department to ensure that customers are comfortable providing their information to your organization. Cloud security management is an easy area to outclass competitors in, while simultaneously boosting customer confidence in your ability to keep their personal information secure.

 

Why Should my Organization Get Certified to ISO 27017?

 

If you are an organization working as a cloud storage provider or using cloud storage within your operations, ISO 27017 is critical to ensure you are using the best, most up-to-date security practices. In many cases, it is necessary to qualify for certain major projects and governments, as they will only consider working with organizations that have a systematic and proven approach to risk reduction while providing seamless cloud-based solutions.

 

Certification Benefits

 

  • You will be considered for large, lucrative projects reserved for companies with comprehensive cloud storage security infrastructures that maintain customer trust by delivering on promises and exceeding expectations regarding data protection.

 

  • You will gain a more complete understanding of your online systems and operations

 

  • You’ll be able to actively address system vulnerabilities 

 

  • Encourage the confidence of consumers and stakeholders in your ability to protect their information or programs

 

  • Introduce a strong sense of accountability

 

  • Empower employees with a purposeful information security mission statement

 

  • Surmount regulatory barriers in the context of online operations

 

  • Enjoy informative decision-making consistent with risk-based thinking and a consistent and effective cycle of improvement

 

Is ISO 27017 Certification Worth It and Should You Upgrade?

 

To summarise, ISO 27017 provides very useful guidance that should be followed by both cloud service providers and their customers. While it is useful for providers to have independent certification to indicate compliance with this high security standard, it does not completely remove the responsibility from the customer.

 

In any event, ISO 27017’s predecessor, 27001, is a perfect adequate basic standard for all cloud-based service providers that want to protect their information and is easily the most popular worldwide. With the introduction of 27017, comes the decision whether to upgrade.

It is definitely appealing to companies that offer cloud solutions and want to cover all the angles when it comes to cloud security, but there are factors to consider, including cost and viability.

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