AWS exec cautions cloud-native start-ups on security

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Steve Bryen, senior technical evangelist, Amazon Web Services.
Steve Bryen, senior technical evangelist, Amazon Web Services.

A senior industry executive has cautioned cloud-native start-ups to be more conscious of security.

Steven Bryen, senior technical evangelist at Amazon Web Services (AWS), believes automating security tasks through the cloud enables start-ups to be more secure by reducing human configuration errors, giving teams more time to work on other tasks critical to the business.

“Identifying and immediately dealing with potential attacks is critical for small businesses. This is where automation can offer a smarter approach to detecting potential threats, as it can monitor patterns of behaviour.”

According to Bryen, applying machine learning and mathematical logic to security allows cloud platforms to proactively manage tasks such as security assessments, threat detection and policy management.

Gartner places AWS’s current share of the global public cloud market close to 47%.

In 2019, the company grossed $35 billion in revenue and claimed millions of users worldwide.

Coming in second is Microsoft, which has not released exact figures on the success of flagship Azure, its public cloud. Microsoft last month said its revenue increased 14% to $36.9 billion for the quarter ended 31 December 2019, boosted by Azure cloud.

Azure controls approximately 15% of the market. Anchoring the list are Google Cloud and China’s Alibaba, with a reportedly 5% or 6% share, respectively.

Bryen tells ITWeb there are advantages start-ups can realise from adopting a cloud provider right from the onset.

“The majority of start-ups are ambitious, tenacious and hungry to expand, so choosing to build and scale their business on the cloud is a natural choice. Cloud platforms provide an opportunity for start-ups to optimise existing IT systems and increase operational efficiencies, while driving business agility and growth.”

This, Bryen says, is achieved by allowing companies to significantly decrease the time it takes to provision and divest IT infrastructure.

“While a physical server could take months or weeks to procure and provision, a cloud server takes minutes. Furthermore, cloud supports the increasingly rapid pace of product development and the need to swiftly bring products to market by using the services AWS offers. Start-ups are all about speed and agility, and AWS believes this is exactly what cloud offers.

“We believe start-ups are a huge driving force for innovation. However, this wouldn’t be possible without a cloud provider that can support and evolve with them as they grow and that enables them to keep their data safe and protect against malicious attacks.

“By having a cloud-native approach and putting security at the centre, start-ups can focus on innovating and disrupting their industry, knowing their cloud platform is as agile, highly secure and dynamic as they are.”

Similarly, according to Andre Schwan, deal solutions manager at T-Systems SA, many companies embark on their cloud journey, only to regret their early decisions and approaches further down the line.

“This is largely because the problem statement and the expectations that were created at the beginning of the cloud transition were incorrect. The result is that either the performance is not as expected, or the business case fails,” says Schwan.

He advises organisations to start with a business strategy and design that supports the business strategy.

“Just moving what you have into the cloud will not achieve the business value expected or opportunity. It is essential that we design for business outcomes and use all options available to realise these outcomes in the most effective manner.”

In his caveat to the start-ups, Bryen says migration to the cloud is important for businesses across the globe.

“Simply by embracing cloud, businesses can scale rapidly, giving them the ability to add or remove resources to meet evolving business demands as required. Instead of investing in data centres, servers and service level agreements, the cloud allows businesses of all sizes to react faster and more flexibly, to experiment, innovate and better serve customers.”

Additionally, he notes cloud is affordable for smaller enterprises, as cloud enables businesses to manage their IT at a lower cost than an on-premises environment.

“However, low cost does not mean low functionality. To the contrary, a start-up operating on cloud infrastructure has access to the same services and capabilities as the largest enterprise or government customers.”

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