Today, more than ever, the cloud's value as a business partner is proving to be a lifeline for our economy to survive the COVID-19 crisis.
The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing an upswing in the usage of cloud and its related services and tools by companies of all sizes.
As businesses reposition themselves to maintain productivity, employees are now finding themselves having to work from home. When disaster strikes, it is imperative that we revisit our disaster recovery and business continuity plans, which often include fuller use of cloud offerings to greatly mitigate the negative impact.
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, IDC had suggested that by 2020, cloud-based IT spending will reach up to 60% of all spending on IT infrastructure and 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending globally. Global Data, on the other hand, estimated that by 2020, enterprises’ spend on cloud computing is estimated to be more than half a trillion dollars! Meanwhile in Malaysia, spending on cloud computing is RM10 billion, which is about 12% of overall ICT spending.
Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, many companies have directed or requested their employees to work from home. Business leaders and employees today find themselves - in line with other digital era professionals – making massive changes in the way they work and live.
Many companies have almost overnight dropped the resistance to remote working, and indeed are realising that productivity gains outweigh any concerns about employee engagement. In fact, employee engagement has continued even during this lockdown.
The cancellation of events and travel bans are of course pushing businesses and most of us to increase our use of digital tools and virtualising meetings and events.
As more people log into networks from home, there is an increased challenge to cloud and connectivity resilience as well as risk increased attacks by hackers - who, presumably are also working from home, #WFH.
Upswing in cyberattacks
A quick scan of media reports show that cyber gangsters have been taking full advantage of this new way of life.
A popular video conferencing application Zoom has been among the targets of cyber attackers, as video conferencing becomes an essential tool for us to connect with each other at work. Check Point’s threat research team says the sharp rise in new Zoom domains has also followed by a sharp rise in the number of fake sites, which are impersonating genuine Zoom domains with the intention of capturing and stealing personal information. It has triggered some organisations and countries to issue advisories against the use of Zoom, amidst cybersecurity concerns.
Malaysia’s national cyber security agency, NACSA & MyCERT has also issued multiple advisories to warn Internet and mobile phone users on the increase in scam campaigns and phishing attacks that attempt to obtain valuable personal information by using COVID-19 as a bait.
Trend Micro discovered that almost 70% of all cyber threats leveraging the COVID-19 were spam messages. One cybercriminal group hit a UK medical firm that was preparing for work on COVID-19 with Maze ransomware attack. The Maze ransomware group published personal and medical details of thousands of former patients of a London-based medical research company.
Closer to home, despite the overall growth in cyberattacks, less than half of organisations surveyed (Southeast Asia [SEA] 43%, global 36%) say the cybersecurity function is involved at the planning stage of a new business initiative, according to the EY Global Information Security Survey (GISS).
This year’s GISS surveyed almost 1,300 cybersecurity leaders at organisations worldwide, including 76 across SEA that covered Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. The survey showed that 59% of organisations (SEA and global) have faced an increased number of disruptive attacks in the past 12 months.
In addition to scaling up layers of cybsecurity provisions, businesses need to continually educate their teams to increase awareness concerning more sophisticated personalised spoofing attacks, and so forth.
Spreading the Risk
In an effort to provide a more consistent and resilient level of security, digital identity is expected to become a foundation layer for all things we do online and join other multiple levels of security measures.
In a recent interview with TM ONE Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Taufek Omar, he opined that blockchain authentication may be well positioned to solve password issues and provide a more secure and advanced login method.
“A blockchain-enabled solution can simplify the data objects using various algorithms, each offering a different level of anonymity to its users, which non-blockchain solution cannot process in few seconds," he said.
Speaking more recently of the latest actions to offset some of the impact of the pandemic, he said: "It is heartening to see so many companies and Malaysians steadfastly staying on course in these difficult times while remembering the true values in our everyday life: health, family, happiness. Everything in balance!".
We're in this together - let's review our safety and security measures and build our inherent corporate trust quotient!