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Choosing a Cloud Protection Gateway Provider | Part 2

Important information for your vetting process

In a recent blog post, we discussed the emergence of Cloud Protection Gateways as a solution for enterprises looking to protect sensitive cloud data by keeping that data under their complete control. We started looking at the vetting process enterprises undertake when they are selecting a Cloud Protection Gateway Provider.

Since it is a decision with implications across the enterprise, we recognize that there are a variety of teams within the organization that should be included in the selection process. We began last time by looking at the information the Security Team needs to make an informed decision about a provider. Other groups to involve include the Governance & Risk team, Information Technology team and End User team.

The Governance & Risk Team
The Governance & Risk team needs to know that the gateway provider chosen is able to comply with the enterprise's established and documented data governance policies. To avoid conflicts of interest, this team will want to verify that the solution permits a segregation of security duties between the Cloud Application Provider and the Cloud Data Protection Gateway Provider. This team will want to know if a particular gateway requires any part of the solution to be deployed within the cloud provider's infrastructure, since it could give the provider a degree of access to the underlying data that they may be uncomfortable with. The Governance & Risk Team will want to consider the risk of have a Cloud Service Provider also serve as the Cloud Data Protection Gateway Provider, because of the risks of having vendor lock in as well as other potential security compromises this situation presents.

Information Technology Team
The Information Technology team will be responsible for deploying and managing the selected gateway and needs to be comfortable with its ability to meet current and future needs. They will be concerned with ease of management, requirements for supporting the gateway and compatibility with existing IT infrastructure. This team will be concerned with the interoperability of the gateway with other security solutions such as SSO and firewalls and ensuring that it has been tested and/or certified where appropriate.

Other important concerns include knowing if the gateway supports multiple cloud applications in a way that uses the same deployment hardware and software, providing the ability to have a single centralized and automated policy management solution that will provide consistency for a range of supported applications. The Information Technology team will want to know how the solution will affect cloud application performance, as well as the approaches that are available to scale the solution if future use is expanded. It is important for this team to know how software is updated, managed and supported and if customer-specific customizations will be the norm since these can make upgrades and support challenging. As an organization's data sensitivity and classification definitions change, this team needs to know how easily the gateway's policies can be updated to address these changes. By doing the appropriate reference checking (customers and industry analysts), companies will be able to gauge how responsive the provider's development and support team will be, as well as what level of organization (size & scale) the provider is accustomed to supporting.

This team will also want to know if the gateway handles web and API access and enforce policies across them equally. End users will want to verify whether the gateway can seamlessly integrate third-party applications with the cloud solutions being protected and also support more complex geographic or group-based access rules to order to meet enterprise requirements concerning data residency or privacy.

End User Team
End users will be utilizing the cloud applications daily and need to know about any potential usability issues introduced by the gateway. They will specifically be concerned about usability trade-offs when encryption or tokenization is used on sensitive data. Some providers cause end users to have limited search function capabilities and put limits on combination searches with multiple operators when data is strongly encrypted. Similarly, the ability to conduct wildcard text searches can be limited by some providers. End users will want to be informed about these types of limitations. Gartner recently highlighted some of these issues in their recent report entitled "Tackle Six Security Issues Before Encrypting Data in the Cloud."

Other Considerations
As each enterprise is unique in its organization and in its requirements, there will be other company and sector-specific questions that need to be addressed as part of any organization's examination of vendors.

For more specific questions on what to ask potential Cloud Protection Gateway Providers, download our recent paper.

You can also read more about how the PerspecSys Cloud Encryption Gateway helps organizations meet their cloud adoption goals and protect their sensitive data.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David Stott

As Senior Director, Product Management at PerspecSys, David Stott leads efforts to ensure products and services meet market requirements. he works closely with multiple internal teams and client stakeholders to develop excellent customer experiences and advance the strategic product direction. He is an experienced product management and marketing professional with a successful record of aligning market needs and opportunities with product requirements, functionality, and go-to-market strategies. David joined PerspecSys from Covarity and has also held product management and marketing leadership roles with Angoss Software, ADP, and Ironside Technologies.

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