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What Is the Difference Between SaaS and Managed Services?

Nowadays organizations of all sizes have various kinds of services available to them in terms of handling any IT-related needs. They are adopting these solutions to beat the costs and hassles of managing their IT systems and using traditional packaged applications. Managed IT services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enable you to handle complex technical areas without the added cost of upkeep and installation, on-call staff, and software engineering.

However, there are essential differences between these two outsourced models. In this article, we will explain the differences between managed services and SaaS that every organization needs to understand and will provide some tips on which model works best for an organization’s specific needs.

Use of SaaS

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a service category that allows your company to subscribe and sign in users to an existing software program that operates remotely from your company. In general, SaaS refers to services delivered through the cloud that your company pays for. You and your employees are able to remotely log in and receive the benefits of the program to do tasks such as bookkeeping, payroll, or even research and present reports.

Actually we use software as a service (SaaS) applications every day. Office 365 from Microsoft, for instance, is SaaS, because the company provides it through the cloud and charges firms a subscription fee for the privilege of using it, depending on the number of users. Dropbox is a SaaS application offering online cloud storage services. Adobe Creative Cloud is a SaaS provider offering illustration, design and photo editing tools. Slack, as well, is a SaaS application for business collaboration and communication. Moreover, SaaS applications are off-the-shelf software solutions intended to be implemented and adopted quickly with little to no customization. Despite their many advantages, though, SaaS applications do have their limitations. SaaS applications are one-size-fits-all, download-and-done solutions, meaning there’s little room for customization for one specific account. Plus, most SaaS subscriptions offer minimal support and training to help organizations adopt the software.

Managed Services Vs. SaaS

Managed services are different. While SaaS provides companies with software that they can use over the cloud, managed services go a step further. They often offer additional support by taking care of both networking and hardware requirements. Managed services can also go further than managing software and help businesses on the hardware side too. Managed IT services are IT tasks provided by a third-party vendor to a customer — this can be businesses of all sizes. The managed service provider has the responsibility to maintain the IT operations of the organization that benefits the service.

On the other hand, the software as a service model is a category of cloud computing alongside infrastructure as a service and platform as a service model. The SaaS model involves software distribution in which a third-party vendor hosts, maintains and upgrades applications that are available to customers via the Internet. If an organization has ever utilized any software from the cloud, then it has used SaaS. The software as a service model might be a good fit for businesses that have full commitment to staff their IT infrastructure but need outsourced applications to have cutting edge services and be on the next level. In short, the businesses that will get the most advantage out of SaaS are those that have existing IT infrastructure.

Furthermore, managed IT service providers collaborate with their customers and provide IT expertise and pre-built IT infrastructure. There are also remote IT service providers that fully maintain and control their customers’ IT operations so that these customers will focus on more critical business projects and processes.

  • Security

Managed IT services offer different benefits to keep an organization’s data secure. These benefits include constant remote monitoring and the creation of relevant reports to inform the organization about the state of its system. Another security benefit is risk assessment and correlation analyses to keep a steady overview of the activities of the network.

With SaaS, on the other hand, the customers don’t have complete control over their data since the data is hosted in the cloud. Although a customer has the advantage of accessing SaaS applications anywhere with the use of the Internet, the customer must perform a security review of the application before subscribing, especially when it is deployed on a public cloud.

  • Scalability

By using remote IT services, an organization doesn’t have to worry about switching up approach as it gets bigger because a managed service provider is already setup to do just that seamlessly. They can address day-to-day IT issues, maintain and monitor the network or system, and help an organization plan for future needs when it comes to technology.

When using SaaS, users don’t have to buy another server or software as compared to traditional models. SaaS applications are scalable by enabling an organization to choose the delivery model and changing it when the requirements of the business change. With SaaS, it is easier to turn on an additional set of components, integrate to other systems, and get new application users.

  • Stability And Predictability

One of the most essential things that managed IT services offer is their stability. Unlike the break/fix model where an IT professional is only available when there is an issue, managed IT service providers have a 24/7 availability and prevent all issues from happening. This also includes weekends, holidays, and in the middle of the night, so kind of IT support provides and ensures a superior level of productivity for the availing organization, regardless of the time and date.

In the SaaS model, on the other hand, data portability can be the problem. The situation can become unpredictable and unstable. What happens to an organization’s data stored in the cloud if the SaaS providers go bankrupt? Unfortunately, this is one of the risks an organization needs to take when opting for a SaaS solution.

What kind of service do you need?

Every company needs a variety of IT related services. If your primary needs center around straightforward functions like payroll or simple accounting, SaaS is probably a good fit for you. One of the primary reasons why SaaS is popular among companies is that it provides a low-cost alternative to conventional, in-house solutions. Through this service, your business is free to scale up or down and implement new products without investing too much on expensive processes.

A managed service provider comes at a higher price, but you still get your money’s worth because they provide a more comprehensive solution. Managed IT companies allow you to enjoy the advantages of SaaS while helping you with better integration, upgrades, and maintenance.

As final thoughts we could say that the choice between the two IT solutions depends on your business needs. There are companies that require basic software delivered via the cloud to perform a specific function. In this case, SaaS is the most ideal option. For businesses that need to integrate their systems and monitor networks, getting managed IT services is the best way to go. Whatever option you go for, always think about how important the software required is to your company.

What Is the Key Difference Between Managed Services and Cloud Computing

If you have ever claimed that there is no difference between managed IT services and cloud computing, then you are wrong. Indeed, these services are similar and many people get confused when trying to determine which to purchase. Understanding the key differences between these two services is essential and can help you accomplish your business goals. In this article, we will explain the differences between the two concepts and the opportunities they offer to companies.

What is the essence of cloud computing?

Nowadays we use cloud services on many of our daily and business activities. For example, we use computing via the cloud to send emails, edit our documents, listen to music, play games, store pictures and files, watch movies and TV, and to do analytical computing. A secure and powerful data infrastructure is the basis for successful IT management. To ensure that large amounts of data are always available and can be processed smoothly, more and more companies are relying on the cloud. Simply explained, the term cloud computing describes both the use and the provision of a wide variety of IT services via a network.

Cloud computing providers give you the cloud for storage, network resources, prebuilt services, or abstract computing. Cloud computing involves the transfer of IT resources to a cloud service provider who makes its technology available to a company. The provider mainly manages the infrastructure, applications and operating system of the cloud. The client can use this service flexibly and as required. Cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Salesforce’s CRM, and Microsoft Azure are family cloud computing services that help you with managed backup computing. Most larger companies employ several cloud providers or utilize multiple public cloud services to have storage on different managed hardware configurations.

What services does Cloud Computing offer?

Cloud services include all models for the provision of IT resources over a network. These data networks can be public, private or mixed – as public, private or hybrid cloud. The public cloud is controlled via the Internet, while the private cloud uses an internal intranet for networking. In the hybrid cloud, companies can store sensitive programs and data on their own servers and operate certain services via the Internet with public providers in order to conserve their own resources.

There are benefits to moving your business operations to the cloud. You can save time and money by not managing your own in-house servers and framework. Going with a cloud service provider for your business can also increase your efficiency. Your team can collaborate remotely, with all of your software and devices syncing automatically. Here we list some more services that are provided by the cloud:

  • Storage, back up, and data recovery: Transfer data via the Internet to a cloud storage system that is offsite. The cloud allows access to data from different locations and using any type of device with these services.
  • Analyze information across teams:The cloud can bring your business statistics from all worldwide departments. Apply cloud services to help you find new information for a more managed decision.
  • Audio and video streaming: Stream audio and video and connect with team members and business audiences anywhere and on any device.
  • clo by using cloud-managed infrastructure that can test and build applications. Application development costs and time are saved by using cloud infrastructures.

What are managed services?

Managed IT Service providers manage and maintain your IT services and functions. They take care of issues that are often done in-house, such as security operations, encryption, infrastructure development, network connectivity, IT strategy and growth management, Backups/disaster recovery/business continuity and Data security. Managed services providers can deliver all of the above services, as well as a higher level of IT support that may include:

Managed service models are ideal for organizations that do not have the trained staff to deal with maintenance, repairs, and updates. Managed services also offer companies a fixed monthly fee for services to provide high-quality amenities. So, in this way you will experience better cost control using managed services. An IT department, including personnel and equipment, can be very expensive for a company. For instance, by utilizing a managed service provider expenses can be managed efficiently to forecast costs every month. Risk management costs and headaches are lowered by using the expertise and methodologies of managed services. A managed service model manages the IT risk for your company, and they have the experts who know the industry and are experienced in compliance and security issues. Besides, you will also have the benefit of 24/7 security monitoring and business IT support. With a managed service provider, you can outsource your IT challenges so that you can focus on your business.

Which is the right service for your business?

Business owners commonly choose cloud services over managed services  because the former appears to be a cheaper option. Cloud providers can provide your company with cost savings and reduced network maintenance costs and at the same time the computing data is stored securely and efficiently in offsite servers. Besides, your costs will be predictable, and you pay only for what you need. When you’re trying to decide whether to use a cloud services provider or a more holistic managed services provider, it’s important to understand what you are getting into, so you can make the choice that most benefits your business.

The Advantages of Role-Based Access Control in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an advanced emerging technology and it is regarded as a computing paradigm in which resources in the computing infrastructure are provided as a service over the Internet. Cloud computing provides a platform to cut costs and help the users to focus on their core business instead of being impeded by information technology obstacles. However, this new paradigm of data storage service introduces some security challenges for the business. A great part of data owners are concerned that their data could be misused or accessed by the unauthorized users in the cloud storage system.

Cloud stores a large amount of sensitive information that can be shared by other users of the cloud. Hence, to protect this sensitive information from the malicious users, access control mechanisms are used. Here, each user and each resource is assigned an identity, based on which they may either be granted or denied access to the data. These methods are called identity-based access control methods. One of the examples of such method is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

Role-Based Access Control Method

To protect sensitive data from improper use, change or deletion, companies need a system to restrict employee access. Role-Based Access Control refers to a method for restricting data access based on a user’s role in the company. With RBAC, employees can access only the resources and files they need to fulfil their responsibilities. Their credentials allow or restrict access based on the tasks they are assigned, so the chance for data misuse is minimised.

RBAC systems can be especially useful in larger enterprises and in companies that use third-party contractors. As the number of employees increases and the authorized contractors change, it can be difficult to provide unique credential settings for each employee. Using a role-based access control system means that admins can sort employees or contractors into pre-existing groups, or roles, which grant access to a defined set of resources. This access is temporary, as the employees can also be removed from the group when the task is complete. Admins can also reset the permission levels for the groups, which means they can better manage employees at scale, increase efficiency, and even improve compliance.

RBAC enables administrators to divide users into groups based on the different roles they take on, and a single user can belong to multiple groups. Typically, employee access takes into consideration the person’s active status and roles, any security requirements, and existing policies. The best practice is to provide minimal authorization for any given user – only enough so that they can do their job. This is known as the principle of least privilege, and it helps ensure data security.

Benefits of RBAC

For many organizations, divided into multiple departments, with hundreds of employees often equipped with their own computers, the role-based access control system is the best solution to apply for optimal security. If implemented efficiently, RBAC has many benefits for both your team and the entire organization.

  • Reducing administrative work and IT support

When a new employee is hired or if a current worker changes his job position or department, role-based access control eliminates the need for time-wasting paperwork and password changes to grant and remove network access.  Instead, you can use RBAC to add and switch roles quickly and implement them globally across operating systems, platforms and applications. It also reduces the potential for error when assigning user permissions. This reduction in time spent on administrative tasks is just one of several economic benefits of RBAC. It also helps to more easily integrate third-party users into your network by giving them pre-defined roles.

  • Maximizing operational performance

RBAC systems also can be designed to maximize operational performance and strategic business value. They can streamline and automate many transactions and business processes and provide users with the resources to perform their jobs better, faster and with greater personal responsibility. With RBAC system implemented, organizations are better positioned to meet their own statutory and regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality, which is crucial for health care organizations and financial institutions. Directors, managers and IT staffers are better able to monitor how data is being used and accessed, for the purpose of preparing more accurate planning and budget models based on real needs.

  • Providing solid security and high business value

Low maintenance costs and increased efficiency are among the key benefits of RBAC as a security strategy for midsize and large organizations. Here’s how it works: Once all of the employee roles are populated into the database, role-based rules are formulated and workflow engine modules are implemented. Through these elements, role-based privileges can be entered and updated quickly across multiple systems, platforms, applications and geographic locations – right from the HR or IT manager’s desktop. By controlling users’ access according to their roles and the attributes attached to those roles, the RBAC model provides a companywide control process for managing IT assets while maintaining the desired level of security.

  • Role-Based Access Control Helps Protect Against Data Breaches

Roles can also help minimize damage caused by a data breach. Besides data encryption and other security measures built into the storage repository, user access limitations help seal off potential hackers and limit any adverse impacts arising from a breach. Businesses can alert users trying to view data that they don’t have proper access and prompt them to contact an administrator for additional access.

Many businesses utilize single sign-on (SSO) connected to Active Directory (AD) to authenticate users. Employees can then connect locally or log in with a VPN. Once the data lake verifies their information, it produces a signature of their identity and role. If an employee is accessing data in your cloud-hosted data lake remotely, it’s critical to secure their connection.

  • Better security compliance

All organizations are subject to federal, state and local regulations. With an RBAC system in place, companies can more easily meet regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality. Furthermore, IT departments and executives have the ability to manage how data is being accessed and used. This is especially significant for health care and financial institutions, which manage lots of sensitive data.

A core business function of any organization is protecting data in the cloud. RBAC system can ensure the company’s information meets privacy and confidentiality regulations. So, if your business does not have an established data governance plan, it is time to develop one. Moreover, learning to recognize the potential dangers and establish proper responses to a data breach will help you to react faster and minimize damage.

When Cloud and Identity Meet Together

Identity management gives the opportunity to a company to effectively identify, authenticate and authorise single users or groups and their access to specific information – applications, data, networks and systems. User permissions and restrictions on what the employees can access and perform are connected to created by the organisation identities, which can be controlled and configured in an efficient manner. That means that only the right people can access the right resources, at the right times, for the right reasons.

With digital transformation via cloud computing, it is possible to have flexible access to apps and data anywhere at any time, so it’s crucial that identity is on the same level as security – that is why they are so tightly linked. Every organisation should have a top-priority objective – to have the right capabilities to safeguard the new adoption of cloud technology and at the same time to protect information confidentiality in every industry. The strategic partnership between PATECCO and IBM provides the opportunity to leverage solutions that manage both.

  • Why IBM CLOUD IDENTITY?

IBM Cloud Identity helps you ensure user productivity with cloud-based features for single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication and identity governance. The solution includes a variety of pre-defined connectors that allow you to quickly provide access to commonly used SaaS applications. You have the option of defining templates for integrating your own applications. Take advantage of these opportunities when securely connecting mobile workplaces e.g. in the home office.

1. Single sign-on

A major benefit of the cloud is easy access to business tools, whenever and wherever users need them. But when tools and the passwords they require begin to multiply, that benefit can turn into a hassle. Many cloud-based applications that users want, do not have built-in security and authentication features.

You can also forget about username and password problems. Your employees can access thousands of cloud-based applications (such as Microsoft Office 365, Concur, Workday, IBM Box and IBM Verse) in your company with one registration. This gives you easy access to browser, mobile and on-premises applications.

1.1 IBM Cloud Identity SSO capabilities include:

  • Thousands of prebuilt connectors to federate to popular SaaS applications
  • Prebuilt templates to help integrate legacy and on-premises applications
  • Employee-facing launchpads to access any application
  • A seamless user experience to access any application with one username and password
  • A cloud directory for organizations that don’t already have a user directory
  • The ability to sync on-premises directories like Microsoft AD for use with cloud applications
  • Support for multiple federation standards, including SAML, OAuth and OpenID Connect (OIDC)

2. Secure access through Multi-factor authentication

In addition to the user ID and password, multi-factor authentication asks for other factors in order to grant access to applications in the cloud. Depending on the sensitivity of the data, the administrator can flexibly decide to what extent this is necessary.

2.1 IBM Cloud Identity MFA capabilities include:

  • A simple user interface (UI) for defining and modifying access controls
  • One-time passcodes delivered via email, SMS or mobile push notification
  • Biometric authentication, including fingerprint, face, voice and user presence
  • Second-factor authentication for virtual private networks (VPNs)
  • The ability to use context from enterprise mobility management and malware detection solutions for risk-based authentication
  • Software development kits (SDKs) to easily integrate mobile applications with the broader access security platform
  • Risk-based user authorization and authentication policies that use:
  • Identity (groups, roles and fraud indicators)
  • Environment (geographic location, network and IP reputation)
  • Resource/action (what is being requested)
  • User behavior (location velocity

3.Optimized management of the user cycle

Optimize onboarding and offboarding of users. In addition, you can easily create guidelines for access requests via self-service – for both on-premises and cloud applications.

4.Easy access to applications with the App-Launchpad

All applications can be conveniently searched, displayed and called up from a central point. The launchpad combines all applications – both on-premises and cloud services.

IBM Cloud Identity supports users’ requirements for frictionless access to applications, business leaders’ needs to increase productivity, developers’ needs to roll out new services quickly, and IT requirements to more rapidly respond to business change.

EXPERIENCE CLOUD IDENTITY IN ACTION

See how Cloud Identity works for administrators, managers, employees and external parties in this live demo.

Info source: IBM website

How to Protect the Data and Privacy In the Cloud

The era of the cloud is in its progress. It is a constantly developing innovation that includes a broad set of public, private, and business process outsourcing capabilities. Cloud computing relies on sharing computer resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Nowadays, organizations use cloud services for data storage and doing their daily operations. Despite of various advantages like scalability, flexibility, productivity, security is the major concern for cloud computing. One of the main security issues is how to control and prevent unauthorized access to data stored on the cloud.

There are various techniques able to control unauthorized access to data. One such technique is RBAC (Role Based access Control) model. RBAC method controls the access to data based on roles given to individual users within an organization. Besides, RBAC model provides flexible control and management using two simple mappings.  First is User to their role in the organization and second is Roles to accessible data to that Role.

  1. Implementing a strong RBAC policy

Implementing a strong RBAC policy helps for building up a strong visibility strategy and provides a better security solution for accessing data on cloud. Roles in RBAC are mapped to access permissions, and all users are mapped to appropriate roles and receive access permissions only through the roles to which they are assigned.

Controlling the access through roles gives benefits to organization and simplifies the management, as well. Typically, role-based access control model has three essential structures: users, permissions and roles. A role is a higher level representation of access control. User corresponds to real world users of the computing system. User authorization can be accomplished separately; assigning users to existing roles and assigning access privileges for objects to roles. “Permissions” give a description of the access users can have to objects in the system and “roles” give a description of the functions of users.

2. Management and Automation

Unifying an organization’s security infrastructure not only eases management, but also helps ensure that consistent security policies are applied wherever applications run, data is stored, or infrastructure is built. Moreover, it enables the automation of security lifecycle management processes and helps ensure compliance. These capabilities allow organizations to manage cloud and on-premises infrastructures similarly by leveraging the same level of visibility and control. Centralized management and automation help organizations meet risk management and regulatory compliance objectives. Effective security management and automation consists of  three primary elements: visibility, control, and compliance.

  • Visibility

The ability to consistently see all applications, networks, infrastructures, security events, and logs in a multi-cloud environment is a cornerstone of a security posture assessment. Such assessments are both a starting point and an ongoing process of security management.

  • Control

Control refers to applying configuration changes and populating the security infrastructure with the relevant resource-related information pertaining to the multi-cloud security posture. Besides, the control framework should extend to the native security functionality provided by each cloud platform. This allows administrators and operators to apply security changes throughout the infrastructure.

  • Compliance

Maintaining a consistent security posture and automating security operations significantly increases an organization’s ability to maintain regulatory compliance. In addition, centralized security management, automated workflows, and shared threat intelligence help enterprises quickly react to emerging threats.

PATECCO Cloud Access Control tools for data and privacy protection

PATECCO Cloud access control tools offer a greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business. Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help enterprises develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency

1.Cloud Access Control: REST API

PATECCO MIM 2016 REST API. This fully functional CRUD tool acts like a convenience gateway between your applications and MIM Portal providing the following benefits:

  • Faster response times due to the integrated cache.​
  • Offers better support for different clients and increased productivity through automation.​
  • Increased level of security by easy integration with API Gateways (Axway Amplify, APIGEE and etc.).​
  • Supports Push Notifications providing easier integration with SIEM or other Event based tools (Azure Event Hub and etc.) adding additional flexibility to your applications.​
  • Cloud ready. Installed on Azure provides easier access for your cloud apps and transforms. Microsoft MIM 2016 infrastructure for Data Stream compatibility.

2. Cloud Access Control: Microsoft PIM

PATECCO offers clear migration path from an On-premise Identity System to the Azure Premium AD and Microsoft Privileged Identity Management (PIM).

  • Analyse and transform current RBAC model to a one based on Azure AD and protect the roles with Microsoft PIM.​
  • Transform and organize Azure AD logs to Events integrated to the Azure Event Hub infrastructure.​
  • Transform and adapt current workflows to the newest cloud native Azure Logic Apps infrastructure and handle all needed customizations through Azure Functions.​
  • Provide level of support for the legacy infrastructure through Azure Active Directory Sync or through our own PATECCO PAM tool. ​

3. Cloud Access Control: Azure AD Domain Services

  • PATECCO offers clear migration path from On-premise Active Directory to Azure AD Domain Services
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) Provides managed domain services with a subset of fully compatible traditional AD DS features such as domain join, group policy, LDAP, and Kerberos/NTLM authentication.
  • Azure AD DS integrates with Azure AD, which itself can synchronize with an on-premises AD DS environment, to extend central identity use cases to traditional web applications that run in Azure as part of a lift-and-shift strategy.
  • Use of Azure AD Application Proxy feature which provides the ability to securely access internal apps from outside your network.

For the different kind of organizations throughout the world, cloud computing has become a key element of their ongoing IT strategy. Cloud services give organizations of all sizes access to virtually unlimited data storage while freeing them from the need to purchase, maintain, and update their own networks and computer systems. Microsoft and other cloud providers offer IT infrastructure, platform, and software “as a service,” enabling customers to quickly scale up or down as needed and only paying for the computing power and storage they use.

However, as organizations continue to take advantage of the benefits of cloud services, such as increased choice, agility, and flexibility while boosting efficiency and lowering IT cost, they must consider how the cloud services affect their privacy, security, and compliance posture. It is important for the cloud offerings to be not only scalable, reliable, and manageable, but also to ensure  your customers data is protected and used in a transparent manner.

How Does Cloud Computing Benefit the Insurance Industry?

Insurance companies are a High-Value target to hackers. The reason is the multiple vulnerabilities included in the insurance provider data. They could be customer portals, credit card transactions, insider threats, external hackers (credential acquisition), Big data warehousing and applications, cloud data storage and more. Some of the insurance companies use outdated or not reliable security solutions which very often leads to cyber criminals’ attack with serious consequences for the company.  As a result, Insurance companies become more and more willing about cloud adoption and instead of asking ask “why”, they make plans about “when and how”.  

Several factors provoke the insurance companies to move their applications and data into the cloud as they reassess their business opportunities. These factors include the need for enhanced agility, the need for technology operating efficiencies and the opportunity of reducing infrastructure costs. For insurers navigating a complex risk, regulatory landscape and adoption of cloud comes with multiple challenges of data privacy, architecture, system interfaces and IT security. All that could be handled with a Cloud solution which offers rapid provisioning, clear visibility of assets, robust data governance and a seamless mix of delivery models.

The advantage of moving to Cloud for Insurance Companies

When we talk about Cloud computing, it is not enough to justify its implementation only in terms of cost and effort. Moving to the cloud changes the overall operation of the enterprise. It creates new ways of operating, creates value for the clients and makes your business grow faster.

When deploying and implementing cloud computing solutions, insurance companies could better drive revenue, improve collaboration, gain customer insight and reduce time to market for products. But that’s not everything: there are several other key strategic benefits that would change the way of work and connections in insurance companies.

Benefit #1: Fast Deployment

Cloud computing offers rapid deployment allowing businesses to be ready to take advantage of it in short order. Cloud has enough resources available at its disposal to allow for multiple tenants in the shared environment. These resources are always scalable.

Benefit #2: Higher Productivity and Collaboration

Cloud computing can help insurers provide their agents, brokers and partners with a common, unified platform. It allows them to easily gain access to real-time data and at the same time increases the productivity.

Benefit # 4: Business Growth and Progress

Cloud systems help insurers to deploy new business models, which are more customer oriented. A cloud-based solution offers better understanding of the customers’ needs and successfully develops the services to meet them.

Benefit # 5: Become more innovative

Insurance companies all over the world are in a constant competition to innovate and offer new things on the market. That’s why insurers need to make sure that their application portfolios meet the emerging needs of the customers. Thanks to the Cloud system, they can test and deploy new technologies and that helps them to better collaborate and to develop new products and services.

Benefit #6: Optimized Risk Management

Cloud allows you to integrate risk data, risk assessments and risk indicators within its environment. That allows insurance companies to protect their data against data breaches and data theft.

Benefit #7: Cost effectiveness

Insurance companies are also concerned about their regular expenses. The theory that Cloud is expensive is completely denied by the fact that Cloud computing can help insurers save a great amount of money which they can invest in better marketing activities or in the execution of specific insurance plans. That’s the reason why we say that Cloud ensures efficiency and flexibility.

Benefit #8: Simplified access with Single Sign-On

PATECCO has IAM consulting capabilities that can help insurance companies gain the benefits of moving to a cloud environment. Identity and Access Management supports single sign-on (SSO) and leverages protocols to integrate with enterprise’s cloud ecosystem. The IAM tools can also simplify the partner access. All user log-ins and activities are precisely managed and when an employee at your partner’s organization leaves, you should not worry about whether they still have access to your application. All access rights are strictly provided or removed according to the user status.

Cloud Computing is no more considered as a specific term in the business sphere. It’s more often regarded as a mandatory initiative and activity. As the number of breaches increases, more and more insurance companies start using the cloud technologies which defenitely changed the face of the insurance industry. Cloud computing is the first step of the insurance firms’ digital transition – from ordinary to modern insurance software. The adoption of cloud computing is beneficial not only for the insurance companies, but for their customers, as well. It efficiently encourages collaboration, communication, improves the security and productivity.

How Cloud Access Control Enables Security and Innovation in the Digital Age (Part 2)

Each organisation should take into account that security must remain the cornerstone of the cloud deployment strategy. There are several forces driving big companies toward public clouds – reduced costs, scalability, reliability, efficiency and the ability to attract and retain technical staff. But in most cases, the success or failure of any project is measured by the level of security that is integrated to safeguard an organization’s data and that of its customers.

In the past two years, several high-profile security breaches have resulted in the theft or exposure of millions of personal customer data records. The headlines are a constant reminder of the disruptive impact on a business in the wake of a breach. Concern about the security of public cloud technology itself, however, is misplaced. Most vulnerabilities can be traced back to a lack of understanding of cloud security and a shortage of the skills necessary to implement effective security measures.

Security should need not altogether be viewed as an impediment to migration efforts, but it must not be swept aside due to pressure or demands from business units. While companies cannot prevent every attack, building cloud security awareness at the right levels of the organization from the outset is a first line of defence for blocking the malicious activity that often precedes a breach.

Which are the biggest security threats of the companies when using cloud technologies?

1. Data breaches

The risk of data breach is always a top concern for cloud customers. It might be caused by an attacker, sometimes by human error, application vulnerabilities, or poor security practices. It also includes any kind of private information, personal health information, financial information, personally identifiable information, trade secrets, and intellectual property.

2. Data Loss

Data loss may occur if the user hasn’t created a backup for his files and also when an owner of encrypted data loses the key which unlocks it. As a result it could cause a failure to meet compliance policies or data protection requirements.

3. Ransomware attack

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish the victim’s data or block access to it. The attack leaves you with a poor opportunity for get your files back.  One of them is to pay the ransom, although you can never be sure that you will receive the decryption keys as you were promised. The other option is to restore a backup.  

4. Account hijacking

It happens, when an attacker gets access to a users’ credentials, he or she can look into their activities and transactions, manipulate the data, and return falsified information.

5. System vulnerabilities
System vulnerabilities can put the security of all services and data at significant risk. Attackers can use the bugs in the programs to steal data by taking control of the system or by disrupting service operations.

6. Advanced persistent threats (APT)

An advanced persistent threat is a network attack in which an unauthorized person gets access to a network and stays there undetected for a long period of time. The goal of such kind of attacks is to steal data, especially from corporations with high-value information.

7. Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks

Denial-of-service attacks typically flood servers, systems or networks and make it hard or even impossible for legitimate users to use the devices and the network resources inside.

How does the Cloud Infrastructure protect the business from the dangers?

Nowadays most companies are still in a process of searching for the right formula and developing successful strategy to prevent all of the above mentioned threats.  What they should do is to adhere to strong security requirements and proper authorization or authentication.

In the report, “Assessing the Risks of Cloud Computing,” Gartner strongly recommends engaging a third-party security firm to perform a risk assessment.  Coding  technology is also a way to  give  no  chance  to  hackers to  hijack  your  computer  or spread ransomware infection. Data  is  encoded  in  your  computer  and  the  backup  data  is  uploaded directly to the cloud storage locations.

Another effective way to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and apps is to ensure secure access with modern, mobile multi-factor authentication. Cloud security is enhanced with compliance regulations which keep high standards of privacy and protection of personal data and information. In such situation PATECCO recommends organizations to focus on Cloud Access Control, Privileged Access Management, Role Based Access Control, GRC, SIEM, IGI.

It’s important to have a full understanding of the services available to protect your infrastructure, applications, and data. And it’s critical for teams to show that they know how to can use them for each deployment across the infrastructure stack. By implementing security measures across your deployments, you are minimizing the attack surface area of your infrastructure.

How to Detect and Protect the Sensitive Data in the Cloud

As already mentioned in the previous article, Cloud computing has transformed the way organizations approach IT, enabling them to adopt new business models, to provide more services and productivity, and reduce IT costs. Cloud computing technologies can be implemented in different kinds of architectures, under different service and deployment models. At the same time they can also coexist with other technologies and software design approaches. Looking at the broad cloud computing landscape continuing to grow rapidly, it becomes obvious that access to sensitive data in the cloud should be properly monitored and controlled.

Cloud services facilitates data management and applications across a network linked through mobile devices, computers or tablets. But these networks can pose significant challenges for front-end security in the cloud computing environment. For overcoming any threats, there is a need of multiple levels of user-enforced security safeguards which are able to restrict access, authenticate user identity, preserve data integrity and protect the privacy of individual data. When implementing appropriate safeguards, policies and procedures, private data can be securely stored and accessed in third-party cloud servers by a network of users.

Best practices for monitoring access to sensitive data in the cloud

If compared to on premise data centres, cloud-based infrastructures are actually not that easy to monitor and manage. For providing high-quality data protection in the cloud, there is a number of measures which must be undertaken

1. Provide end-to-end visibility

The lack of visibility across the infrastructure is one of the little disadvantages of the cloud-based solutions. Consequently, there is a need of ensuring end-to-end visibility into the infrastructure, data, and applications. The implementation of an efficient identity and access management system can help limiting the access to critical data. It also makes it clear to understand who exactly accesses and works with your business’s critical data. A high-level granularity of access management allows granting elevated privileges only to users that actually need it.

2. Implement Privileged Access Management to Secure access to valuable information

Privileged Account Management (PAM) systems are designed to control access to highly critical systems. PAM security and governance tools support companies in complying with legal and regulatory compliance. Their capabilities allow privileged users to have efficient and secure access to the systems they manage. Besides it offers secure and streamlined way to authorize and monitor all privileged users for all relevant systems.


3. Monitor implementation and audit access to sensitive data

It is necessary to conduct periodic audits to identify security vulnerabilities and monitor compliance. Continuous monitoring and auditing of the cloud infrastructure allows detecting possible attacks and data breaches at an early stage. PAM capabilities will also help you to successfully monitor sensitive data and manage access to it.

4. Use RBAC to Control what users have access to.

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a method of restricting network access based on the roles of individual users within an enterprise. RBAC lets employees have access rights only to the information they need to do their jobs and prevents them from accessing information that doesn’t pertain to them. An employee’s role in an organization determines the permissions that individual is granted and ensures that lower-level employees can’t access sensitive information or perform high-level tasks.

5. Use SIEM Technology

SIEM technology supports threat detection and security incident response through the real-time event collection and historical analysis of security events, from a wide variety of event and contextual data sources. SIEM also helps enterprises manage the increasing volumes of logs coming from disparate online sources. Storing the logs from different sources in a central secured database make the process of consolidation and analysis easy.

SIEM supports compliance reporting and incident investigation through analysis of historical data from these sources, as well.

6. Build an efficient incident-response strategy.

It is recommended to make a plan which would help you react immediately to a possible security incident in an adequate manner. It should include several important steps such as determining authority to call an incident, establishing clearly defined team roles and responsibilities, establishing communications procedures and responsibilities, increasing end user awareness and deploying the Right Tools.

All the above mentioned points, concerning implementing appropriate safeguards, policies and procedures, are a good prerequisite for keeping private data securely stored and a protected.

How Cloud Access Control Enhances Security in Financial Sector

When talking about cloud computing, we usually relate it to the use of online software tools or mobile apps for interacting with Internet resources. It is no longer necessary to keep a physical server or local storage source on site, because when the client has access to the internet, the software for running a particular program can be accessed.

The popularity of cloud access control is growing and now a lot of businesses are planning or already use cloud access control systems, also known as managed access control. That gives the great opportunity for employees to store and retrieve files on remote servers via the internet and at the same time provides compatibility, convenience, flexibility and higher security.

For strengthening security in the corporate information systems of companies from financial sector, PATECCO developed effective cloud access control tools. Delivering greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business, is only one of the numerous advantages provided by PATECCO. Highly scalable, access control allows banking to react to meet increasing demands and is simple to administer. Given the flexibility of the cloud, it could help with data mining and provide richer data analytics insights.

Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help banks develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency. As a technology, PATECCO cloud systems can help banks and financial institutions transform themselves into a digital business, enhance their enterprise security and compliance, and introduce automation for improved efficiency. Cloud computing helps banks reduce fixed IT costs, as well. The expenses can be shift from capital to operational costs. With cloud applications, there is no longer necessary to build hardware, it just pays for what it needs when it needs it.

PATECCO Cloud Access tools allows banks to provide a more consistent, digital experience across all customer-facing channels. It fundamentally changes the way in which customers interact with data and their banking providers. By extending cloud services to clients, banks can empower clients to update data and documentation to support ongoing maintenance of an accurate client risk profile for lifecycle compliance. This not only delivers greater efficiency for the bank and more convenience for the customer, but also builds up a deeper, closer relationship between them through enhanced digital communications.

By using cloud computing, banks can create a flexible and agile banking environment that can quickly respond to new business needs. A lot of examples prove that banks, trusting cloud systems, are better in responding to economic uncertainties, interconnected global financial systems and demanding customers. PATECCO even makes it easier for the employees to access risk and analytics reports while they are on the move. They see the benefits of accessing the internet on their smart phones and tablets, instantly even in remote locations.

Cloud Access Control Brings Different Approach to Security in Banking Sector

Cloud computing today is delivered and used in every vertical in the market across sectors. One of the key considerations for the banks continues to be physical security and access control. It’s a great challenge, especially when the organisation has numerous branches and facilities spread across different countries. To drive progress and innovation in banking, and to leapfrog the competition, it is critically necessary to make a transformation of the business models. Such kind of models require new ways to maximize profitability and returns, to increase agility, and to seize new market opportunities.

Security is a critical component in each organisation, especially in the financial services sector. There are strict regulatory requirements around data residency and data access. To overcome these challenges, a lot of banks are adopting cloud access security systems, aligned with the customers’ needs.

Benefits of Cloud Computing in Banking and Finance

Cost savings, better efficiency, the ability to access data and applications on the move are all important consideration factors that can drive financial services firms to adopt cloud computing.

1. Flexibility is the key

PATECCO cloud access control tools offer banks and the financial sector greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business. Highly scalable, access control allows banking to react to meet increasing demands and is simple to administer. Given the flexibility of the cloud, it could help with data mining and provide richer data analytics insights.

2. Strengthening security and compliance

Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help banks develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency. As a technology, cloud can help banks and financial institutions transform themselves into a digital business, enhance their enterprise security and compliance, and introduce automation for improved efficiency.

3. Cost-effective

Cloud computing can help banks reduce fixed IT costs. The expenses can be shift from capital to operational costs. With cloud applications, there is no longer necessary to build hardware, it just pays for what it needs when it needs it.

4. Improved customer relationships

Cloud computing allows banks to provide a more consistent, digital experience across all customer-facing channels. It fundamentally changes the way in which customers interact with data and their banking providers. By extending cloud services to clients, banks can empower clients to update data and documentation to support ongoing maintenance of an accurate client risk profile for lifecycle compliance. This not only delivers greater efficiency for the bank and more convenience for the customer, but also builds up a deeper, closer relationship between them through enhanced digital communications.

5. Mobility

It’s now easier for the employees to access risk and analytics reports while they are on the move. They see the benefits of accessing the internet on their smart phones and tablets, instantly even in remote locations. And since a cloud facilitates users to access systems and infrastructure using a web browser, regardless of location and time, advancement of such interfaces has started taking shape.

In the dynamic economic times, banking and finance sector is under even greater scrutiny than ever. By using cloud computing, banks can create a flexible and agile banking environment that can quickly respond to new business needs. A lot of examples prove that banks, trusting cloud systems, are better in responding to economic uncertainties, interconnected global financial systems and demanding customers.  

For more information about PATECCO best practices in IAM, check out here: