When it comes to defending against cyberattacks, a common strategy includes investing in costly hardware and software products, and then shoring up both frequently. But going against conventional thinking, more cybersecurity professionals are turning to cloud storage as an effective and more affordable way to fight cyberterrorism, according to new data.
Nearly 70 percent of respondents said their company is using cloud-based cybersecurity services, according to PWC’s Global State of Information Security Survey 2016. The study, released in October, included input from 10,000 IT professionals from around the globe.
The cloud as a less pricey cybersecurity tool is especially beneficial and welcome for small- to mid- sized companies that can’t afford all the bells and whistles that larger companies employ to keep their networks safe.
“The cloud makes it possible to do things analytical, related to cybersecurity, that were never before possible,” said David Burg, the global cybersecurity and privacy leader at PWC.
Years ago when companies began moving sensitive information to the cloud, there was paranoia about storing data off site. But cybersolutions are evolving and increasingly include cloud-based solutions. “The value of moving to the cloud outweighs the risk of paranoia,” said Chris Weber, co-founder of Seattle-based Casaba Security.
Build datacenters in seconds
Cyber experts are also using cloud storage’s assets to their advantage. For example, the nature of cloud computing — using remote servers on the Internet to store and process data instead of using local servers or personal computers — means cloud-based cybersecurity systems have access to almost unlimited computing power. And that unlimited capacity allows for quick responses and solutions.
“In cloud-based technology or companies, there is no latency with extremely challenging analytics running in the background,” Burg told CNBC.
And unlike installing physical hardware and systems, cloud-based cybersecurity also allows for the creation of remote data centers in seconds, said Burg of PWC.
But some cybersecurity experts warn caution, when moving to cloud-based security.
“Make sure you understand who the cloud provider is, that they are highly reliable, and that there will be no unforeseen costs down the line,” advises PWC’s Burg.
When using third-party security providers, companies are allowing someone else to access to their network traffic. Breaches of cloud-based services have occurred, according to David Kennedy, chief executive and founder of Strongsville, Ohio-based TrustedSec.
“The cloud model is relatively new,” Kennedy said. His advice? “Prioritize and protect sensitive information that makes your business unique.”
For now though, cloud’s effectiveness and affordability are too enticing to ignore for businesses.
And to harness cloud storage’s benefits and bring down costs further for smaller companies, many of those businesses are using third-party cybersecurity providers.
Third party cloud cybersecurity companies are usually cheaper for companies than independently hiring their own defense teams. Hiring just one cybersecurity professional can cost on average $100,000 a year. Additional costs can be substantial including servers.
And by partnering with a third party, companies get access to data and analytics on threats and solutions used among many companies.
Beyond smaller firms, larger companies are also moving security to the cloud, with many companies setting up their own cloud-based system, according to PWC’s Burg. He added many of the larger companies already use cloud-based messaging services, so moving to cloud-based cybersecurity is a natural progression.