Why Cloud Security Testing is Essential for Startups

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Cloud Vs On Premise Software: Which is Best For Your Business?

Friday February 24, 2020

Wide spread adoption of cloud has led many vendors to shift focus from on-premise solutions to cloud delivery models, giving rise to a question ‘which is best for my business’? If you are wondering which option is more secure, accessible and affordable, explore our handy comparison.

‘The cloud’ has grown in popularity in recent years and, according to Gartner, there were 72 per cent of business using cloud software models in 2020. Bringing freedom from hardware constraints, to agility and always-current functionality, it’s hard to deny its benefits. Yet cloud vs on premise software continues to be hotly debated.

Cloud vs On-Premise Software Comparison

Essentially, the fundamental difference between cloud vs on-premise software is where it resides. On-premise software is installed locally, on your business’ computers and servers, where cloud software is hosted on the vendor’s server and accessed via a web browser.

As well as accessibility, there are a raft of other things that need to be considered when making a decision., including software ownership, cost of ownership, software updates and additional services, such as support and implementation. Here we explore all the pros and cons.

Cloud software advantages

Anywhere and anytime access – You can access your applications anytime and anywhere via a web browser from any device.

Affordable – Cloud requires no upfront costs, instead you make regular payments which makes it an operating expense (OpEx). While the monthly cost adds up over time, maintenance and support services are included removing the need for annual contracts.

Predictable costs – Benefit from predictable monthly payments that cover software licences, upgrades, support and daily back-ups.

Worry free IT – Because cloud software is hosted for you, you don’t need to worry about the maintenance of your software or the hardware it resides on, compatibility and upgrades are taken care of by the cloud service provider.

High levels of security – Data centres employ security measures beyond the affordability of most businesses, therefore your data is often safer in the cloud than on a server in your offices.

Quick deployment– Cloud-based software is deployed over the Internet in a matter of hours/days because, compared to on premise applications which needs to be installed on a the physical server and each PC or laptop.

Scalability – Cloud technologies provide greater flexibility as you only pay for what you use and can easily scale to meet demand, for example adding and scaling back licences.

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Lower energy costs – When you move to the cloud, you no longer have to pay to power on-premise servers or to maintain their environment. This significantly reduces the amount you pay on your energy bills.

The drawbacks

Connectivity – Cloud solutions require reliable internet access for you to remain productive.

Long-term costs – Although requiring a lower upfront investment, cloud applications can be more costly over the course of the system’s life cycle, increasing total cost of ownership (TCO).

Less customisable – Cloud software is typically configurable but depending on how it is hosted a cloud solution may not be able to cope with complex development.

On premise deployments

On premise advantages

Total Cost of Ownership – Since you are only paying for your user licences once, an on-premise solution can have a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than a cloud system.

Complete control – Your data, hardware and software platforms are all yours. You decide on the configuration, the upgrades and system changes.

Uptime – With on-premise systems, you do not rely on internet connectivity or external factors to access your software.

The drawbacks

Large capital expenditure – On-premise systems usually require large upfront purchase which means capital expenditure (CapEx) is often required. On top you need to include maintenance costs to ensure support and functionality upgrades.

Responsibility for maintenance – With an on premise system, you are responsible for maintaining server hardware and software, data backups, storage and disaster recovery. This can be an issue for smaller companies who have limited budgets and technical resources.

Longer implementation times – On-premise implementations take longer due to the time needed to complete installations on servers and each individual computer/laptop.

Why is cloud better than on-premise?

Dubbed better than on-premise due to its flexibility, reliability and security, cloud removes the hassle of maintaining and updating systems, allowing you to invest your time, money and resources into fulfilling your core business strategies. Providing real-time access to systems and data from a variety of devices regardless of the location and with guaranteed up-time of 99%, cloud is becoming number one choice for UK businesses, with adoption rates reaching 88% in 2020.

Who are cloud service providers?

A cloud service provider is a company that offers cloud computing services to businesses or individuals, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS). Cloud service providers usually offer public and private cloud computing solutions and have high availability cloud computing platforms designed to ensure business security and continuity.

Which is the right for my business?

There is no right or wrong answer to the cloud vs on premise software dilemma. Every customer is different and has different requirements that will influence the choice of the deployment strategy. There are a number of questions to ask before finalising your cloud vs on premise software decision:

CapEx vs OpEx – Can you afford the upfront investment required in an on premise solution?

Backup and disaster recovery – Do you have the tools to ensure top level security?

The upgrade cycle – Is it important for you to have access to the latest functionality and compatibility updates?

Cloud Vs On Premise – Can’t decide?

The decision between cloud and on premise software can be a difficult one due to a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. Download our cloud guide which will help you weigh the benefits.

Clouds are more secure than traditional IT systems — and here’s why

A strong-held belief in traditional IT security over cloud is faltering as studies find that data location matters less than accessibility.

I speak to many in traditional IT that I call the “folded arms gang.” These are IT executives who need to address the use of cloud computing — typically because the CEO or their board of directors is demanding it — but feel that cloud computing still has too many shortcomings. They want to hear about cloud computing, but they don’t believe in its use.

The good news is that the “folded arms gang” has lost many members as cloud computing proves its value. However, the argument around security and privacy issues in the cloud still comes up often. While there is a certain amount of emotion, and sometimes politics, at play, you must educate those in enterprise IT around the real issues and the real risks. Indeed, I’ve been finding that clouds are more secure than traditional systems, generally speaking.

Control does not mean security.

According to Alert Logic’s Fall 2020 State of Cloud Security Report, the variations in threat activity are not as important as where the infrastructure is located. Anything that can be possibly accessed from outside — whether enterprise or cloud — has equal chances of being attacked, because attacks are opportunistic in nature.

The report further finds that Web application-based attacks hit both service provider environments (53% of organizations) and on-premises environments (44%). However, on-premises environment users or customers actually suffer more incidents than those of service provider environments. On-premises environment users experience an average of 61.4 attacks, while service provider environment customers averaged only 27.8. On-premises environment users also suffered significantly more brute force attacks compared to their counterparts.

Clearly, there are myths that cloud computing is inherently less secure than traditional approaches. The paranoia is due largely to the fact that the approach itself feels insecure, with your data stored on servers and systems you don’t own or control.

However, control does not mean security. As we’ve discovered in this report, and in incidences over the last several years, the physical location of your data matters less than the means of access. This is the case for both cloud-based systems and traditional enterprise computing. Moreover, those who build cloud-based platforms for enterprises typically focus more on security and governance than those who build systems that will exist inside firewalls.

Systems built without the same rigor around security won’t be as secure, whether they are cloud or not. So, the best practice here is to focus on a well-defined and executed security strategy with the right enabling technology. Don’t focus as much on the platform.

The guidance I typically provide includes three steps:

  1. Understand your security and governance requirements for a specific system and/or data store. Many of those who deploy security around cloud or traditional systems don’t understand what problems they are attempting to solve. You need to define those up front.
  2. Understand that controlling access is much more important than the location of the data. Look at how the data is accessed, and look specifically at opportunities to breach. Again, most of the data breaches occur around finding vulnerability, no matter if it’s cloud-based or on-premises.
  3. Finally, vulnerability testing is an absolute necessity, no matter if you’re testing the security of cloud-based or traditional systems. Untested systems are unsecured systems.

I suspect that we’ll think differently around security and the cloud as we deploy more public cloud-based systems and data stores and the world does not come to an end. However, without the right amount of planning and good technology, cloud-based platforms can become risky. Same goes for your existing enterprise systems. No free lunch here.

About the author:
David “Dave” S. Linthicum is senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners and an internationally recognized cloud industry expert and thought leader. He is the author and co-author of 13 books on computing, including the best-selling Enterprise Application Integration. Linthicum keynotes at many leading technology conferences on cloud computing, SOA, enterprise application integration and enterprise architecture.

His latest book is Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide. His industry experience includes tenures as chief technology officer and CEO of several successful software companies and upper-level management positions in Fortune 100 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including the University of Virginia, Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin.

For Startups

Are you an early stage startup with co founders working and developing the product or have a small team of upto 5-10 developers focused on scaling? Here is what we expect you must be thinking when someone talks about TESTING…

  • Testing… our developers would do that in house
  • Testing… we are still developing, why do we need it now, maybe later
  • Testing… we need to cut the budget, testing is unaffordable at the moment
  • Testing… we don’t see any bugs in the application so far, don’t need that now
  • Testing… we are too occupied, don’t want to think about it right now

Well, all these thoughts are leading to a decreasing percentage of your success. Testing should not be considered an add on, rather an essential must do. Without quality, you can’t compete. Defective applications ruin your image and chances of success. And frankly, quality assurance is a mindset that needs to be established from start. And of course, you need to keep this activity unbiased and independent. A fresh mind can judge more accurately than the one iteratively looking into it. And testing is not too expensive either.

How Kualitatem Can Help You ?

Kualitatem, know your needs inside out and the experience has been established while working with dozens of startups. Kualitatem can provide you with:

  • Experienced test engineers at affordable cost
  • Independent test environment with already established platforms (hardware + software + configurations) for free
  • Test management and Bug management tools for free
  • High visibility into your application through established best practices
  • All the specialized testing needs at one place (functionality + performance + browser and platform compatibility etc)

Check out what few of our distinguished startups have to say about us:

Infused is a startup and Kualitatem has been working with us as our QA partners. They have helped us through setting up the automation testing framework using Selenium. Their attention to detail starting from selection of the right tool for automation and then implementing it , has helped us achieve our objectives. They have been flexible and very aware of our requirements as a startup which demands cost-effective implementation.We highly recommend Kualitatem for their services, especially to startups who are looking to deliver high quality products.

Michael Bender, CEO, Infused Industries

I have been working with Kualitatem since the summer of 2020 and they have consistently performed outstanding manual testing of our web application. As a startup, I never have sufficient resources to develop or properly test my application, so having an economical and independent QA team has been essential. Kualitatem has taken my woefully insufficient direction and management and has provided thorough and complete test plans and test cases and integrated easily with my developers. They are responsive and flexible with my constantly changing needs. Kualitatem is an outstanding value.

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