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The Five Pillars of a Secure Cloud Transformation for Regulated SaaS

Cloud adoption is evolving the way regulated SaaS companies operate. It is also changing up the way their IT leadership manages applications, connectivity, and security. Complex, and often long, cloud transformation results in a SaaS provider that can execute at a higher rate of speed, learn from failures, and constantly improve to benefit customers.

A cloud transformation offers an opportunity for enterprise SaaS leaders to reevaluate network architecture and optimize user experience. The cloud is seen as the ultimate driver of digital transformation. At the same time, thanks to cloud technologies, the barriers to market entry for competing companies are lower than ever before.

From mainframe, to client-server, to web, to cloud, IT architectures have evolved to support the way people want to work. In a sense, everything old is new again: modern cloud technology shares user similarities. Specifically, the ability to connect remotely.

Cloud procurement complexity is increasing at an exponential rate as cloud providers introduce not just new products, but also variations of the same product based on tiers and sizes. Regulated SaaS providers will naturally want to choose the optimal configuration of these services to get the best performance at the lowest price. Many times, this results in a hybrid cloud option.

When it comes to pillars for secure cloud transformation, we have selected five that we believe stand out among the rest. They include:

  • Protecting remote users
  • Updating your cloud security
  • Taking advantage of hybrid IT
  • Leveraging cloud service provider support and expertise
  • Assessing alternatives to your current network with SD-WAN

#1 Protecting Remote Users

Enterprise SaaS providers moving to a new cloud model must recognize the following impacts on security and network performance, particularly with regard to remote users. This is easier said than done. Some tips for executing on this pillar include making security local and close by.

This may mean working with data center colocation providers or leveraging a cloud-based security tool with local points of presence. It is important to recognize and account for scalability costs as user traffic increases.

Another best practice includes using tools that allow fast, secure, policy-based access between users and applications they need to connect to, regardless of the network.

Despite concerns your SaaS customers may have about security, cloud computing can actually work towards increasing their overall security posture. Security measures can be put in place, such as user-specific passwords and encryption of files when there are attempts to open these by unauthorized users.

#2 Updating Your Cloud Security

Legacy network security models protected the entire corporate network. But how can an enterprise protect users bypassing the old network on the way to the cloud?

Security transformation should start with deploying Zero-Trust networking, an approach that establishes a default-deny posture for all network data and traffic interactions. Second, move on from legacy security to dynamic, continuous adaptive trust and threat mitigation.

It is also important to know and understand your IT environment to actually be able to update your security. Understanding your IT environment is one of the toughest tasks in compliance and security. This is because environments change alongside technology, staff come and go, and businesses can change what products or services they provide.

The implications of cloud transformation are readily apparent. More efficient IT leads to more efficient business processes, which in turn, leads to higher enterprise productivity. Better security is delivered at a lower cost.

#3 Taking Advantage of Hybrid IT

According to the RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud report, hybrid cloud is the dominant enterprise strategy, with 58 percent of respondents stating that is their preferred approach. Organizations are using an average of five different clouds. Clearly, the desire for hybrid and multi-cloud environments, which are now increasingly characterized by including multiple cloud vendors, is strong.

Highly sensitive regulatory requirements are a major factor when CIOs choose to keep some assets in a secure data center and others in a cloud environment. The core promise of hybrid IT is it will improve efficiencies and do so at a pace and scale the business requires.

The first step is for CIOs to connect with the business to establish clear lines of communication and to set common goals. Within the IT organization, CIOs must set policies that identify the need to prepare for hybrid IT as a top priority. From there, they can vet out providers to find varying cloud services that meet specific business needs.

#4 Leveraging Cloud Service Provider Support and Expertise

It is more difficult than ever to meet the complex demands of compliance and security – especially with evolving threats, vague regulatory guidance, and limited resources. Your compliant cloud provider should be able to take the guesswork out of protecting your regulated SaaS data.

If you have done due diligence on vetting a compliant cloud service provider, you will have thought about the level of support your organization requires. A good support team can be an ally during any cloud migration project. The expert cloud support staff should be able to promptly answer technical questions or help with any issues you may be experiencing.

LightEdge’s security professional services simplify the process of improving your security posture by helping you:

  • Make sense of security and compliance frameworks that apply to your business or industry
  • Identify business risks, considering the role of your hosting service provider
  • Determine which security controls are required to mitigate your identified risks
  • Improve collaboration and communication during security event mitigation and incident response between your business and LightEdge
  • Establish the necessary framework to maintain and continually improve your information security program over time based on evolving scope and emerging risks
  • Document and track efforts for evidence collection and audit preparation

It is not enough to be compliant; you must also develop evidence to prove that you adhere to the controls and processes mandated by your compliance framework. Find a cloud provider that can help you define what evidence is required, aid in gathering documentation and reports, and provide in-person support during external audits.

#5 Assessing Alternatives to your Current Network with SD-WAN

SD-WAN is a more direct-to-internet connectivity model. Users today expect applications and access to the Internet to be available 100 percent of the time. In order for IT professionals and business leaders to accomplish that goal, you cannot have single points of failure. Having a single circuit connecting an office is a guaranteed way to fail.

If you do not own your office space and simply want to find the most reliable, fastest, and most cost-effective connectivity, SD-WAN is a game-changer technology. Offices that need less than 1 Gigabit of connectivity fall into the sweet spot for this technology.

Cable and shared fiber-optic-based internet technologies offer access speeds of 100 megabits/second and higher for $50-$250/mo. If you can get one of each, go for it. If you can only find one option of this kind, take it and blend in whatever other options you can get.

SD-WAN solutions can combine multiple links from multiple carriers into a single connection back to corporate resources or to data centers and cloud services. User traffic can be distributed across all links either through per-session or per-packet load balancing algorithms. Per-packet load-sharing can allow a single user session to take advantage of the additive bandwidth of multiple links by re-assembling and re-ordering the packets across a single session across multiple links.

Who Benefits?

Web traffic and file sharing can greatly benefit from this technology. Session-based load sharing also has benefits, but individual users are typically limited to the bandwidth of a single link which they are dynamically routed across. Multiple users can be balanced across different links and provide an aggregate benefit at the site.

The last link/carrier diversity benefit comes from simple failover. Having more than one link allows the SD-WAN appliance to actively monitor availability and effectiveness of each link and route traffic down whichever links are up. Having a single link into a site will never give you 100 percent availability, no matter what carriers say or guarantee.

The only proven way to improve availability is to have multiple links from multiple providers and benefit from the fact that these networks are independently operated giving you a better chance of having one or more path out of your site at any given time.

Transform Your Regulated SaaS Organization with a Cloud Upgrade

If your regulated SaaS company is moving new applications to the cloud or is looking to transform your enterprise IT, starting with these five pillars can help change both your security and network. If you are looking to upgrade providers, LightEdge can help.

When asked about our differentiators against the competition, one of the first answers is always – our network. Our history with network goes all the way back to 1996 when we were founded as an ISP. We spent over two decades making sure our network and infrastructure were scalable, redundant, and secure enough to meet the most challenging IT needs.

From a dedicated physical infrastructure to a virtual delivery model, we’ve got the compliant cloud and hosting solution for your organization. Retain the level of control you want, and the amount of data isolation you require.

LightEdge offers a free risk assessment from our Chief Information Security Officer as a free resource to all of our clients. LightEdge’s highly trained compliance and network security experts take the guesswork out of keeping your business protected. LightEdge’s top priorities include compliance and network security to guarantee that our customer’s data is protected. LightEdge is compliant with:

Have you heard enough? Reach out to one of our LightEdge Network Experts today at: or call 1-877-771-3343.

We have empowered hundreds of organizations across the nation through improved latency, security, and reliability. We are ready to do the same for yours.

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