Cloud Computing Can Protect Firms Against Cyber Threats: Experts

by Sohini Bagchi    Aug 28, 2017

cloud security

At a time when cyber attacks are growing worldwide, and high-profile cybercrime such as data theft, ransomware and computer hacks have become the order of the day, experts believe that cloud computing may provide the security against cyberthreats that companies need. They reason that Cloud helps security operations respond quicker to threats and focus on business risk as opposed to spending countless hours researching threats and trouble-shooting aging on-premises systems. It also saves a substantial cost for organizations in the long run.

According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global cloud security solutions market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 20 percent during the forecast period and sectors such as BFSI, retail, healthcare and government can trememdously benefit from migrating to cloud.

For example, Technavio researchers found that the BFSI sector that has been the constant target of web-based attacks over the past years with customers making increasing number of transactions and payments using the Internet and web applications, cloud solution can reduce the the risk of identity theft. 

The cloud edge in cyber security

The increased instances of cyber-attacks have raised fear and awareness in the BFSI sector about the growing use of viruses and malware to target networks and applications, leading to the increased demand for cloud security solutions, it said.

Likewise, the digitization of healthcare services worldwide has led to a higher demand for cloud security solutions. Confidential information, such as patient data, lab results, and billing information, are vulnerable to security risks in the absence of appropriate storage procedures.The security and confidentiality of medical records and patient data must be ensured by providing secure user access to the data. This has resulted in the growing demand for cloud security solutions.

Read more: Securing Applications In The Cloud

According to Amrita Choudhury, a lead analyst at Technavio for IT Security research, “One of the major reasons for adoption of cloud security solutions is the implementation of stringent regulations for maintaining patient privacy. Healthcare frauds and medical identity theft have made it necessary to adopt cloud security solutions in the healthcare sector.”

Similarly, in the retail sectoe, customer expectation of more personalized retail experiences has led e-commerce retailers to develop their own apps to provide a convenient shopping experience even on the move. With the proliferation of mobile apps, cyber threats have also increased because of the vulnerabilities in the apps due to the lack of technical controls such as insufficient transport layer protection and poor security measures implemented by the mobile app owners. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of point-of-sale attacks, and most of these incidents occur in the retail sector, resulting in high-profile incidents impacting retailers’ reputations.

“Increase in incidence of fraudulent transactions has led to the adoption of cloud security solutions in the retail sector. Also, the governments of varios countries such as the US and the UK are implementing stringent regulations such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for the retail sector to enhance their security infrastructure, which augurs well for the growth of the cloud security solutions market,” said Choudhury.

Advances in technology, such as enterprise mobility, cloud computing, cloud storage, and Internet of Things (IoT), have helped the government sector to develop and expand its communication networks, which enables faster and easier networking and exchange of information. These advances, however, have led to the risk of network and application-based attacks in the sector, thus leading to increased demand for cloud security solutions.

Read more: Modern Cloud Infrastructure Is A Key Growth Enabler

Advanced targeted attacks in the government sector, including protocol attacks, intrusions, routing attacks, worms, and denial-of-service (DoS), are increasingly common because this sector is becoming more reliant on computer networks and devices. Organizations in the sector are required to protect critical data and assets from theft, exploitation, and sabotage, thereby resulting in the wide adoption of cloud security solutions.

Another report from Thales reveals that Indian organizations are increasingly adopting encryption to address compliance requirements and the escalating need to protect sensitive information from both internal and external threats and accidental disclosure. Seventy per cent of organizations in India transfer sensitive or confidential information to the cloud a rate that is highest of all the countries in the survey (global average: 53 percent).

“As organizations embark on their digital transformation and embrace the cloud it is imperative that their most sensitive data remains secure and protected.” believe experts. It is therefore essential for India to strengthen their security position with strong data security and encryption plans in order to secure sensitive data and adhere to risk and compliance best practices and regulations.

The cloud security risks continue

However, Cloud computing continues to be at risk from cyberattacks and if not implemented well can pose a big threat to a company’s security.

“While the cloud provides a good back-up of data, there’s a risk depending on when the cloud synchronizes with data affected by ransomware; if it synchronizes at the wrong time, the encrypted data could overwrite the clean data in the cloud,” David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, told CNBC in a recent interview.

He believes, from that point of view, while relying strongly on cloud as a storage medium, companies should also include mix a back-up to a physical storage device, such as a USB or a server somewhere to .

Philippe Very, professor of strategic management and head of faculty at EDHEC Business School, also goes one step ahead saying that cloud computing can be safer for a company than investing in its own cybersecurity. the dominant actors in the cloud computing space, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle, have business models which cannot afford to be disrupted by data breaches.

In other words, while no system is full-proof, relying on cloud computing providers that are highly secured, and having a strong cloud security culture can provide better security to organizations against cyber threats.