Cloud Service Provider Platforms
What Are Cloud Service Provider Platforms?
A cloud service provider (CSP) is a company that offers cloud computing services such as storage, databases, and infrastructure at scale to organizations. AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Provider (GCP) represent the Big Three of cloud service providers, with AWS controlling 32% of the market share as of 2023.
Many organizations rely on a multi-cloud strategy. Implementing multi-cloud strategies gives organizations the edge in terms of having increased control over where and how their data is being stored and used. In fact, 98% of enterprises use or plan to use at least two cloud infrastructure providers according to a study conducted by 451 Research.
In this post, we’ll go into the challenges and benefits of cloud service providers, but first, let’s explore the various types of cloud providers and their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to data security.
Types of Cloud Providers
There are three main types of cloud providers: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Here is a full breakdown of each service.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): IaaS provides virtualized cloud computing services such as storage and virtual servers which users can provision and manage. They also offer a flexible pas-as-you-go business subscription model that allows organizations to scale their resources up or down based on their changing needs and adapting dynamic workloads.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): PaaS offers a platform and environment to build, deploy, and manage applications without any underlying infrastructure. PaaS is extremely agile and streamlines the development process without major investment. A good example of PaaS is AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS delivers ready-to-use software applications over the internet. SaaS platforms typically offer built-in access controls and user authentication mechanisms. This is especially valuable for admins that manage access to data and applications. Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are both examples of SaaS.
There is another important cloud computing service known as Database as a Service (DBaaS). DBaaS scales both vertically and horizontally to accommodate growing data while simplifying the data management process for admins. Snowflake and Databricks are both popular DBaaS providers.
It's important to note that while DBaaS providers excel in securing the infrastructure, users are responsible for controlling data access.
Benefits of Cloud Service Providers
There are several convincing benefits of using a cloud service provider platform vs having your own.
- Scalability: Organizations can either scale up or down based on demand. This elasticity helps businesses handle traffic spikes and growth without the need for any significant upfront investments.
- Cost-Efficient: CSPs typically offer a flexible pay-as-you-go model, rather than making larger investments in hardware and software. That means less hardware maintenance and overhead costs.
- Reliability: The majority of cloud service providers have multiple data centers spanning across the globe to ensure high availability and data reliability. They generally offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with uptime guarantees to prevent latency issues.
- Data Backup and Disaster Recovery: Many CSPs offer automated backup and disaster recovery services, helping organizations protect sensitive data in the event of a breach.
However, there are also a few challenges to CSPs which we will discuss.
Challenges of Cloud Service Providers
Vendor Lock-in: Many organizations become highly dependent on a single vendor. This can make things increasingly difficult to migrate to another CSP or return to an on-premises solution without a massive effort and expensive costs.
Hidden Costs: Lack of transparency is a major dealbreaker when choosing a CSP. Many CSPs charge fees for data transfer. These charges can vary depending on the volume of data transferred and the destination. Inefficient data management can also lead to unnecessary storage, so make sure you provision as correctly as possible.
Shared Responsibility Model: The shared responsibility model defines the division of security responsibilities between the CSP and the customer. It can be easy to misunderstand or misinterpret the security responsibilities which can lead to major problems in the event of a breach.
Cloud Waste - Research taken from The 2023 State of Cloud report showed that public cloud waste was at a staggering 28%. That means nearly 1/3 of cloud storage is not being utilized. And costs can stack up quickly. Many organizations either neglect to provision correctly or simply get caught up in the busy day-to-day operations, leading to unused cloud resources and depleted budgets.
Complex Contract Terms: There is nothing more frustrating than receiving a bill for services that were either not agreed upon in the SLA or not mentioned from the get-go. Take the time to properly go over the fine print of the contract and negotiate the terms to avoid any potential legal disputes later down the line.
Regulatory Compliance: CSPs frequently operate across multiple geographical regions and are subject to a diverse array of regulatory frameworks. These regulations include data protection, privacy, and security. Neglecting to maintain adequate regulatory compliance best practices can lead to significant penalties.
Those are just a few things to take into consideration when choosing a cloud service provider.
Gain Full Visibility Over Your Cloud Environments with Dig Security
Regardless of which CSP you choose, it’s imperative to have full visibility and control over your data security posture. Dig Security provides consistent data protection and integrates with all major public clouds, such as AWS, Azure, GCP, Snowflake, and more.
Dig Security’s Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) solution discovers and classifies sensitive data stored anywhere in your CSP account and identifies the risks of simple misconfigurations that can escalate all the way to a breach.
Whether it’s the discovery of shadow data or unencrypted sensitive data at rest such as that in a database, or data that is flowing outside of its residency location, Dig Security provides a complete platform for cloud data protection. Protect your sensitive data in just minutes. Book a demo today.
What is an example of a cloud service provider platform?
Examples of cloud service provider platforms include AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Provider.
What are some benefits of CSP platforms?
Some benefits of a CSP platform include scalability, reliability, disaster recovery, and data backup.
What are the challenges of using a cloud service provider platform?
Some of the major concerns of a CSP include vendor lock-in, cost transparency, regulatory compliance, and addressing customer issues within shared responsibility models.