SMEs are increasingly turning to cloud for cybersecurity
Oscar Arean, Technical Operations Manager, Databarracks
The last year has seen a significant increase in the cybersecurity challenges threatening businesses of all sizes. The attacks on TalkTalk, VTech, Ashley Madison and Lincolnshire County Council are all examples of the rising level of cybercrime impacting organisations.
However, while large businesses have the budget to invest in strong security measures against cyber attacks, smaller companies often lack the capacity and financial capabilities to do this. With research finding that attacks on SMEs are increasing dramatically, small businesses are actively looking at cost-effective ways to increase their data security. As such, there’s a good chance that we’ll see these security concerns driving more small and medium sized organisations towards cloud solutions like Office 365.
Rather than worrying about safeguarding multiple systems within their own environment, it’s far easier for a small IT team to offload that burden to a cloud service provider. While services like Office 365 can never be 100 per cent secure, what they can do is provide the peace of mind needed that a team of skilled security specialists are working to eliminate threats. You’re not simply pushing all responsibility to the service provider, however. You are ultimately still responsible for the data and its security – but as an SME, by working with an expert you’ll have much greater security processes in place than you could achieve in-house.
While the benefits of having access to this expertise are obvious, concerns will always exist for those organisation taking their first steps into cloud services. Even if we look at established public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google’s Cloud Platform, there is still work to be done in making these cloud services more accessible and more intuitive for first time users.
While many users have experience with Office 365’s interface, which is incredibly simple to use, it takes time to become familiar with more complex platforms such as Azure or AWS. They still require a “hand-holding” approach to set up which needs to be simplified in order to facilitate more widespread adoption. The other option is to use a service provider that can manage that process for you.
With more businesses wising up to the vulnerability of their IT systems, it seems obvious that many will turn towards cloud providers for cost-effective security measures. Services like Office 365 are likely to prove invaluable for SMEs looking to secure their information without heavily investing in dedicated security infrastructures.
The increased emphasis we expect to see on cybersecurity will also lead to disaster recovery services continuing to mature in 2016. In our 2015 Data Health Check we questioned over 400 IT professionals on the differences between their actual and desired recovery time objectives (RTOs). The most common actual RTO was up to four hours, despite the majority revealing their ideal RTO would be less than one hour. Reducing this gap will play an important part in organisations’ business continuity planning. Simple steps such as proper IT DR planning and regular testing will help to reduce this gap and ensure businesses are adequately prepared and protected. SME partnerships with cloud service providers will go a long way in making this happen.