08 Mar 2016

Multi-tenant and Shared Directory vs. Risk

Recent research by the Cloud Industry Forum identified that 63% of respondents from the public and private sectors envisioned moving their entire IT infrastructure to the cloud in the near future. Today, 56% of firms in both sectors use a hosted email solution, and 77% of firms see their cloud usage increasing during 2016.

Understanding Multi-tenant Architecture

With the majority of service providers using multi-tenant cloud architecture, it’s clear that cloud is leading the digital transformation of businesses globally. Multi-tenant architecture allows service providers to capitalize on economies of scale and bring increased operating efficiency, making it possible to offer users the competitive rates and enhanced performance that they demand.

The benefits of multi-tenant architecture are not just limited to efficiency and scalability. Modern multi-tenant environments also offer robust security levels that can exceed those of on-premise environments by providing quick access to patches, updates and constant monitoring, enabling the host to fix issues before a security breach can occur.

Firms utilizing a multi-tenant cloud environment from a top rate service provider can expect their data to be isolated from that of other tenants. In this setup, the application would behave as if it was the sole user, and the tenant’s private data would be protected from any unauthorized access. Tenants own their data and control who can access it.

Securing Shared Active Directory and Exchange

Shared Active Directory and Exchange services are sometimes thought of as a cybersecurity weak link, but with careful planning and design, these services can be also be fully secured.

In order to maintain robust security for Active Directory services, each tenant must have a separate Active Directory forest. While this adds complexity, it also strengthens security and creates boundaries. Limited numbers of Domain Admins and delegated access to Active Directory, which can be tracked and monitored, is another effective way of reducing any risks associated with these shared services.

Microsoft has also gone to great lengths in order to secure Exchange services. When Exchange is coupled with multi-layered security in a true multi-tenant data center environment, which includes secured end-points, networks, file and data encryption and multi-factor authentication, tenants can be assured that they are protected from both external threats and threats from other tenants sharing the same architecture.

Despite the recent advancements in securing these shared services, fears around security continue unabated. 85% of firms surveyed in a recent study conducted by 451 Research said they were “concerned” or “very concerned” about security in the cloud. 70% of these firms were most concerned about a data breach at the service provider, while 66% feared increased vulnerabilities from the use of shared infrastructure.

A top rate service provider will take several steps to ensure the security of their customers’ data and will be completely transparent with their customers regarding the storage and usage of data. When evaluating a cloud service provider, ensure from the beginning that the service provider specializes in providing customized technology solutions, and that they do not place clients on shared directories.

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