The future of cybersecurity: Edge, Cloud or both?

The cloud is the backbone of digital cybersecurity. By Walter Heck, CTO HeleCloud

Due to the stark increase in cyber-crime over the last 18 months, data security has never been more important for business survival. IT leaders not only face scrutiny over potential cyber breaches, but they must also follow strict rules and guidelines and are subject to increasingly severe punishments from regulators and governments regarding large-scale breaches. As the number of cyber-attacks continues to increase, and costly ransomware continues to put companies out of business, IT leaders must take steps towards protecting their business’s digital data.

Although this can be a challenging and complex task, IT teams have one saving grace – the cloud. Gartner research has shown that up to 60% fewer attacks occur on Cloud infrastructure when compared to on-premises alternatives. In addition, the cloud provides IT security teams with a wider overview of all digital operations. Further to this, a recent IBM study found that 95% of security failures occur due to human error, with data being stored and managed remotely, the Cloud offers fewer direct contact points between employees and valuable company data. Thus, reducing the risk of security failure and potential cyber-attacks.

The importance of AI and automation

AI and automation are the foundations of many more recent cloud security solutions. They both fall under the “Data Science” (DS) umbrella are predominantly used to shift practices from prevention to real-time threat detection, putting businesses and cloud service providers a step ahead of savvy cyber criminals. DS can be used with a company-wide data-driven approach to detect and proactively alert present and future security weaknesses and digital vulnerabilities. DS analyses data coming in and out of protected endpoints, detecting threats based on known behaviour and spotting yet unknown threats based on predictive analytics.

When security teams have DS and machine learning technologies handling routine tasks and first-level security analysis, they are free to focus on more critical or complex threats. This is particularly important given the current skills shortage in cyber security. With 51% of organisations claiming to have a problematic shortage of cyber security skills, companies can relieve some of the pressure by delegating the first level of analysis to bots, allowing security professionals to focus their efforts on combatting more difficult attacks.

DS-based cloud security solutions might never replace human analysts. However, they allow analysts to prioritise their workload, get their tasks done more efficiently and ultimately increase business productivity.

Securing the remote workforce

Since early 2020, employers have been forced to quickly shift to remote work and now employees everywhere are working from just about anywhere. However, remote working or even hybrid working brings with it many security challenges, as cyber actors now have countless entry points to choose from. From cloud to an endpoint, supporting numerous off-campus workers puts pressure on IT and security teams to verify users, enable secure access, and defend the remote work environment from a wide range of threats.

To work remotely, companies need employees to have access to corporate resources through cloud technologies, and major cloud service providers have recorded higher sales numbers to support this increased demand. Cloud applications and services allow organisations to support remote workforces, regardless of their geographical location.

In the future, businesses leaders will need to prioritise cloud security and governance spending and other digital tools and strategies, such as virtual desktop infrastructure, to securely support their remote workforce.

Does the future lie at the edge?

There is great potential waiting “at the edge”. Edge computing enables businesses to offer faster response times, reduced costs, as well as provide a comprehensive IoT strategy that allows organisations to stay competitive and innovative. Recent Grand View Research found that the value of the global edge computing market skyrocketed to $3.5 billion in 2019.

As we emerge from the disruption of 2020, many businesses will plan for extensive IoT deployments, and edge computing promises to improve and replace one of the most influential technology trends of the last decade, cloud computing. This shift to edge computing has the potential to further disrupt the digital landscape whilst increasing business revenue. The size of the global edge computing market is predicted to explode to $43.4 billion by 2027, reaching an annual growth rate of 37.4 per cent.

How and why? - Unlike cloud, computing, edge can shift much of the critical processing over to the devices connected to them instead of cloud data centres. In addition, the growing demand for digital security over the last 12 months had resulted in a greater need for more intelligent devices and applications that can process data directly at the edge of the network. While edge computing has been on the IT and operations radar for a long time, it has now moved into the corporate mainstream. The accelerated rollout of 5G will only increase demand and need.

Edge computing is lucrative and has the potential to be very good for virtually every industry as there is “money to be made at the edge”.


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