Companies Are Moving to the Cloud to Avoid Cybersecurity Risks
Michael Alba posted on July 21, 2016 |

A panel of cybersecurity “rock stars” discusses the online threats facing businesses and how to avoid becoming a victim. (Image courtesy of IEEE Computer Society.)

A panel of cybersecurity “rock stars” discusses the online threats facing businesses and how to avoid becoming a victim. (Image courtesy of IEEE Computer Society.)

“Cybersecurity is a cat and mouse game where the mouse gets bigger and more ferocious by the minute.”

This sobering warning from security analyst Joshua Greenbaum, moderator of the upcoming IEEE Conference “Rock Stars of Cybersecurity/Threats and CounterMeasures,” emphasizes the need for extreme caution in today's quickly evolving digital world. As Greenbaum goes on to explain, one way that many Internet of Things (IoT) and other technical companies are protecting themselves is by moving to the cloud.

Do You Know Where Your Files Are?

One of the more insidious security threats that has been gaining popularity in the last few years is called ransomware, and it can be disastrous for businesses. It's the online equivalent of a kidnapping, except that instead of stealing people, cybercriminals steal data.

Here's how it works: usually distributed as a Trojan infection, ransomware encrypts the victim's data and denies access to legitimate users. Then, a ransom is requested in order to obtain the decryption key and retrieve one's files. With no practical alternative, victims are left to pay up or say goodbye to their data—an unthinkable option for many IoT businesses.

How to Avoid Becoming a Digital Hostage

So how can moving to the cloud help mitigate this and other cybersecurity risks? It all comes down to the complexity of the security threats facing businesses today. With more and more companies realizing the need for proactive security measures, cybersecurity experts are becoming scarcer and more expensive. For many businesses, small and large alike, maintaining a dedicated cybersecurity team is not feasible.

That's where big cloud companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Google come in. With plentiful resources and strong reputations, they can attract and afford the best and brightest talent in cybersecurity. And since this extends to their cloud services, cloud customers receive the benefit of these security experts without needing a dedicated team of their own.

"Security threats can't be minimized. That's why companies of all sizes are running to the cloud," explained Greenbaum, adding that increased security is often simply the tipping point for companies that recognize many additional benefits of moving to the cloud, including elastic resources and better life-cycle management.

For IoT engineers, Greenbaum's advice is worth considering. IoT applications often involve a huge amount of personal data. Additionally, most IoT customers are worried about cybercriminals gaining access to their private files. While there are steps businesses can take to earn consumer trust, and users can involve themselves in securing their devices, IoT designers shouldn't underestimate the danger posed by cybercriminals. With the huge potential risk, making use of secure cloud services is one way to put businesses and customers at ease.

“Rock Stars of Cybersecurity/Threats and CounterMeasures” is scheduled for Sept. 13, 2016 in Seattle and promises to offer actionable advice on real security risks. To learn more about the conference or register to attend, check out the conference website.

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