As the viral pandemic gradually comes under control, there are worrying signs that we could now be facing “a pandemic of a different variety”. Those are the words of former head of US cybersecurity, Chris Krebs, who raised the alarm after a sequence of high-profile ransomware attacks (1). By and large these have followed a similar format in which hackers break into and encrypt a company’s data – then hold onto the information until the victim pays the often very significant ransom to release it.
Consider some of the organisations to have taken a hit from ransomware and cyber attacks in early 2021 alone, and it’s easy to see why so many experts are worried. From Australian broadcaster Channel Nine to computer manufacturer Acer and airplane company Bombardier, these attacks had a seriously disruptive impact. They also underlined the increasing ambition of the hackers to hit organisations who would be expected to have the greatest level of protection against attack.
Hence there is a feeling that – more than ever before – there is no scope for complacency when it comes to IT and network security. And whatever the organisation, that means you have to perceive security as a moving target. As Microsoft senior programme manager Joel Sloss recently remarked: “The moment you say you are impenetrable is the moment you have already been hacked.” (2)
Given this prevailing air of uncertainty, it’s understandable that some organisations might feel hesitant about moving across the cloud. But at this point in its maturity, the reality is that the cloud can provide far greater security benefits than a traditional on-premise approach.
Super-focused on security
The resources that the leading cloud platform providers can bring to bear eclipse anything than an individual organisation could hope to provide on its own. With dedicated teams in place working solely on security, these providers are also able to stay one step ahead of new and potential threats.
Protection against DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks is one obvious example. These attacks seek to overwhelm a targeted server, service or network with a huge volume of Internet traffic – resulting in severe disruption. Cloud service providers are always evolving techniques in which DDoS attacks can be monitored, absorbed and dispersed to avoid such interruptions.
With data breaches also on the rise, cloud service providers have been taking steps to implement more stringent security protocols to protect sensitive data. The use of these protocols will also help organisations ensure that they comply with increasingly demanding data protection regulations, such as GDPR.
Moreover, selecting a leading cloud provider opens the way to continual, round-the-clock monitoring. Redundancy is also fundamental to the cloud, meaning that if one data centre experiences problems another will step in and take the strain.
It’s precisely for these kind of reasons that Priva has partnered with Microsoft Azure for the development of its building automation platforms and apps. We chose Azure because of the standard components that it provides, as well as its extensive security measures. The result is that Azure now provides the cloud foundation for a host of our solutions.
Far from being seen as a point of vulnerability, then, it is now apparent that a cloud-based platform backed by a leading tech giant has become the sensible choice for companies and organisations everywhere.
In the second part of this blog, we’ll consider how the cloud is helping companies to negotiate more unpredictable hybrid working patterns.