Is Cloud Security the Future?
By Stuart Hardy
Businesses worldwide are tapping into the benefits of cloud computing - the practice of using a network of remote, internet-hosted servers to manage, process and store data. In fact, 80% of organisations are predicted to migrate to the cloud by 2025 (i).
In South Africa, businesses are swiftly embracing cloud computing too. And what’s spurring this on even more has been the deployment of local cloud data centres by the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Huawei. These data centres address issues such as data sovereignty and network latency that have hindered organisations from moving to the cloud in the past.
However, this enthusiastic adoption of the cloud has resulted in some organisations being dangerously exposed to cyber-attacks, due to the fact that they have not given enough serious consideration to the possible security implications.
Did you know that in the first quarter of 2019, there were 13,842 attempted cyber-attacks in South Africa every day? (ii) That equates to just under 577 attempted attacks per hour, or over nine per second (iii).
South Africa, like other countries around the world, faces an ever-evolving range of threats. However, according to the Global Fraud Report (iv), the most common threat experienced by local businesses is unlawful acquisition or interference with sensitive data, with data breaches being found to have a total organisational cost of R20,6 million (v). Research has also revealed that in the past year, 88% of South African organisations have experienced a phishing attack, eight out of every 10 enterprises have suffered an impersonation attack and 42% of businesses have been subjected to a ransomware attack in the past 12 months, compared to 23% in the previous 12 month period (vi).
Not only does cybercrime lose businesses money, but it can also damage an organisation’s reputation in instances of exposure or theft of sensitive customer data, and negatively impact a company's competitive edge should intellectual property be stolen or exposed.
It’s quite obvious that South African organisations need to be stepping up their cyber security, but they also need to be cognisant that, unlike in the past, their applications no longer reside within their network and their users have become more mobile. With so many applications and users outside of the network, there is no way enterprises can build a perimeter around them anymore. The only logical solution to this is to deploy their security in the same place their users and applications are - the cloud.
Essentially, cloud security builds a perimeter around the Internet itself by utilising AI and machine learning capabilities to inspect all bytes, ports and protocols that come into the network or go out. Encrypted traffic is also inspected due to the distributed infrastructure and economies of scale that only cloud can provide. Added to this, cloud security offers an integrated and co-ordinated security platform, which enables a real-time correlation of risk indicators to predict and block attacks.
What’s more, because cloud security protects tens of millions of end-users via cloud intelligence, when a new threat for just one user is identified, all other users will benefit from that intelligence and, by default, be protected as well.
We all know that digital transformation reduces costs and simplifies a business’ network and/or security deployment. So it’s very clear that moving security to the cloud, enterprises can make things simpler, better, faster and more economical now and in the future too – essentially cloud security could be futureproof.
With advisory firm, Gartner Inc., predicting that software spend in SA will reach R36 billion by next year (vii), a 24% increase from 2018, we unequivocally believe that cloud security is the only possible future.
(iv) Global Fraud Report