New security frontiers: An opportunity to rewrite the rules

Issue 2 2021 Cyber Security

The Coronavirus business conversation so far has largely been about how to overcome the challenges the pandemic throws up. However, tackling the opportunities, Paul Crichard, chief security technology strategist, BT, explores how organisations can reimagine their security for the cloud, turning it into an enabler for better ways of operating.

Many organisations are seeing the pandemic as an opportunity to throw out the old rulebook. When organisations had to respond quickly to the changing context, they had to bypass some established practices to do things differently and it’s opened their eyes to new possibilities. In fact, I believe we’re never going to work in the same way again and I’m picking up a vibe from customers that says: “We didn’t really like what we were doing before, but it was what we were expected to do. Now we have a chance to make a better working environment, so how do we do more?”

Make security an enabler in this new environment

There’s no doubt that the security environment has changed as the way we work adapts to the restrictions of the pandemic. There’s been a big increase in spending on remote access, and a shift from VPN-based options to direct connections to cloud-based applications to allow people to work at home. Organisations are supporting a greater use of laptops and looking for effective ways to deal with new identity management challenges, such as remote resets. Plus, organisations are generally adopting new technologies faster than usual, bringing new security challenges.

As users demand a better experience and want to work differently, I see a future emerging where IT is more human centric and accessible, and security needs to keep pace. Now there’s a real risk that organisations who stick to the old ways of doing things could overspend on security. It’s time to move away from providing security measures just because they’re expected. In a cloud-based world, it’s about making security an enabler, rather than a blocker. And, by investing in the right areas, organisations can make sure security doesn’t become a money pit.

Security that flexes with the business

Organisations operating successfully in the cloud have shifted their understanding of what good looks like. The power of the cloud comes from building a system that’s visible to everybody using it, where all the different functions are aligned so that when one element changes, others flex to meet the new requirements.

By getting the preparation right, organisations can absolutely fly in the cloud. Take, for example, the way the front-end needs to be able to react to an increased load from users. Having a system in place that is designed to react rapidly and securely to bursts in customer needs gives the assurance that scaling will happen automatically, on demand and with minimal to no issues. And security should flex with it too.

With cloud security, knowledge is power

In the cloud, tech choices can’t be taken in isolation; it’s not just about solving one problem. The thought process needs to explore where this technology will fit into the whole, what it will connect to and how. This information will make installation easier and result in a capability that fits seamlessly into the organisation.

Strong cloud security comes from knowledge in three key areas: a sound understanding of how the cloud works, the applications an organisation wants to use and its business plans moving forward. Organisations who have knowledge about all three can build-in effective security faster, more easily and at a lower cost.

This can be hard to do alone though, because the information needed isn’t always readily available. It’s important to work with a reputable ICT and advisory partner who can act as a knowledgeable friend when the organisation is trying to find the easiest way to get something done. This advisory partner can help provide the full picture the organisation needs to make smart decisions so that their move to the cloud can become an opportunity to do more, better and securely.

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