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Cloud Security and The Airline Industry

Apr 04th 2018
Is the cloud secure for airlines? Vistair discuss in their article

Since the cloud has arrived, one common argument organisations have had against using it has been around whether it’s secure enough and how it fares against legacy systems. In fact, in a LinkedIn survey from 2016, “general security concerns” was named the biggest barrier to adopting cloud.

This myth has likely spawned from the idea that the cloud only “feels” less secure, due to data being stored on servers and systems that you may not own or fully control and worrying about who might have access to your data. For airlines, this fear can pose a worry when it comes to ensuring the compliance, quality and safety of the data they collect and hold such as technical manuals for aircraft, customer information, personnel information and much more - which could impact document management.

In this article, we discuss three of the prominent features that make the cloud more secure than legacy systems and why airlines should be replacing them with this technology.


Controlled Access

Having data stored off-site in a cloud environment can seem daunting. However, the physical separation from critical, confidential data and documents can actually decrease the chances of the wrong people (whether employees or third parties) from accessing it.

Monitoring and controlling staff access becomes much easier to implement which, combined with a much better and more consistent level of data security, makes this a distinct benefit for any airline operation. For instance, storing data in the cloud can be a blessing for document management and can help your senior personnel control the amount of access that a particular individual or a department requires - and authorised users are able to access their data as and when needed.


Perimeters and Surveillance

While cloud-based systems are more prevalent these days, many businesses will still use legacy systems alongside them. However, often difficult-to-manage legacy systems can pose security challenges, which can cause them to be both cumbersome to maintain and sometimes unreliable. For one, simply configuring the security in a legacy system can be a multi-step process in itself, which takes up valuable time. As systems evolve, so do cybercriminals.

The problem with legacy systems is that they cannot be updated quickly enough to keep up with the speed of change - and therefore data held on these legacy systems are incredibly vulnerable to hackers. For airlines, who hold vast amounts of data such as technical and flight operations manuals, customer and personnel information and more, it’s not only a security risk, but a compliance one too - and in the event of a security breach, it can have devastating and costly consequences.

On the other hand, when it comes to the cloud, cloud service providers (CSPs) tend to provide multi-layered security defences and are in the habit of regularly updating their software as well as monitoring activity to ensure any data stays protected against breaches and attacks.


Frequent Auditing and Scale

Airlines are well acquainted with frequent auditing. They ensure that the airline is safe, free from risk and are compliant with regulations in order to get their planes off the tarmac in time.

Similarly, cloud service providers frequently audit their cloud-network to ensure it’s fully protected against any security flaws and risks so that they are able to provide their services to customers. Whilst legacy systems also have an audit schedule they often find it much more difficult to remedy outstanding items as other business imperatives take priority. This leaves a system at risk for much longer that cloud-based service providers.

As the aviation industry continues to move into the digital age, legacy systems and processes are struggling to keep up. Compared to new-age technology such as the cloud, they are difficult to update and scale alongside a growing airline organisation - and this can become a problem in taking away valuable time and resources in order to implement these updates on a legacy system.


Transform Document Management With the Cloud

Airline documents such as OEM manuals are becoming more difficult to maintain and manage as aircraft become more complicated and technical - and so require manuals that reflect their technical nature. As such, with the amount of data an airline needs to hold for compliance and safety purposes, legacy systems are sometimes not flexible enough to meet the demands of managing these documents sufficiently.

Airlines need a safe, secure and compliant system to house their data, so reviewing and then updating older systems and software, like your document management system, to a cloud environment makes sense.

Additional reading:

The cloud can not only provide better security for your organisation - but overall can promote and improve efficiency, improve compliance, increase employee utilisation rates, diminish silos of information with data and much more.