What is a Service Infrastructure and Why Should I Care?
One question that the Compuquip team has had to answer quite a lot in recent years is “what is a service infrastructure, and why does it matter to me?” A simplified service infrastructure definition is that it’s an alternative term for “infrastructure-as-a-service” (IaaS). IaaS, in turn, is a type of cloud-based infrastructure service that gives organizations remote access to computing resources.
These cloud infrastructure resources could be used for any number of tasks depending on the capabilities of the IaaS provider and the goals of the company using them. Some businesses use their service infrastructure to remotely store backups of their most critical data as part of a disaster recovery solution—others use them to create entire secondary production environments to instantly take over in case of an emergency as part of a business continuity plan (BCP).
What Are the Benefits of Using a Cloud Service Infrastructure?
The big benefit of using a cloud infrastructure service is that it provides near-immediate access to new computing resources for a fraction of the cost of installing new hardware onsite. This is possible because many infrastructure-as-a-service providers can invest heavily in robust computing resources that exceed what companies not specializing in delivering those kinds of resources can match.
To make the most efficient use of these resources, cloud infrastructure providers use virtualization software to artificially split each of their assets into many smaller virtual devices. Then, they rent out space or runtime one each virtualized asset to their customers. This helps to mitigate the costs of computing by:
- Having multiple customers share the cost of a single computing resource;
- Bypassing the need to pay for installation (and eventual upgrade) of a large data center asset; and
- Eliminating the need to hire additional physical security in the client’s business to protect the asset.
Instead, the cloud infrastructure company can handle all of the maintenance and physical asset security on their end.
However, as convenient and efficient as using cloud service infrastructure can be, there are some challenges awaiting companies seeking to perform a cloud migration.
Why You Need IaaS Cybersecurity Defenses
Here’s a little secret that most cloud service infrastructure providers won’t tell you outright: They are not responsible for the data security of any IT assets you keep in their cloud infrastructures. They may provide all the physical security in the world for the facilities where they keep their assets (CCTV surveillance, biometric processing checkpoints, etc.) and perimeter security for the virtual environment (firewalls)—but it is usually the responsibility of the customer to provide endpoint security and other cyber protection measures to safeguard any data on the cloud.
Part of this is because of necessity—the cloud provider usually cannot control how you manage your access controls, so they can’t guarantee protection from illegitimate use of your user accounts. For example, if you terminate an employee and don’t delete their user account, the IaaS provider won’t be able to block the estranged worker from using their legitimate access credentials to steal information on the way out.
So, to keep your cloud infrastructure safe, you need to translate your on-premises infrastructure security measures into cloud-enabled versions that can protect your remote computing resources as vigorously. The issue is that not all endpoint security measures translate neatly to the cloud—you may need to change security solution vendors to find a solution that works with your new service infrastructure.