The cloud computing industry is now established and made-up of a growing community of global providers, generating large revenues. Cloud technology confidently sits with big data, IOT, AI and Machine Learning as one of the defining technologies of the early 21st century. Sue Daley, Head of Programme for Cloud, Data, Analytics and AI at techUK shared her thoughts on how the advent of cloud has changed not only the way businesses operate, but also how they understand security. With over fifteen years’ experience within the technology industry and with an unrivalled network of tech companies at her fingertips, Sue has witnessed first-hand a step change in our approach to technology. According to Sue, most organisations view emerging and innovative technology as “key enablers in the way businesses operate and compete, whereas, technology used to be seen simply as a supportive business function”, a trend also mirrored by organisational engagement with technology as a subject. Having worked at the CBI, Symantec and now techUK, Sue has an intimate understanding of how businesses are increasingly dependent on technology, and this dependency is manifested in the increasing prevalence placed on technology and technical security not only in large organisations but small ones as well. Sue comments that Tech and Cyber “has become a boardroom issue with the creation of roles such as CTO and CISO”, a positive change, the promotion of which echoes in cyber security literature and best practice.
Increased dependence on technology solutions and services, paired with heightened awareness of cyber threats, drives technology firms to provide more secure services. This is particularly true for Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). In the face of growing cyber threats, the cloud industry invests heavily in cyber security technology to protect their clients.
This is however, not the only way in which CSPs ensure secure access. Sue explains that “policies and procedures are also put in place to keep information and systems secure and to prevent disruptions to cloud users’ access to services and information if a security incident occurs.” With a plethora of services available for customers, the current market can often seem confusing; a broad market however, not only offers end-users innovative solutions, but also tailored bundles of services to meet their individual and organisational needs. Navigating this ever expanding market requires organisations to both intimately know their needs and competently understand current offerings. Sue advises that “the decision to take the first steps on a cloud journey should be driven by a desire to solve a specific business problem or issue rather than to invest in the latest technological innovation”, adding that such considerations should also be made in concert with scrutiny of demand for speed and security. Accordingly, current solutions don’t require users to trade-off speed over security or vice versa. In fact organisations have the freedom, in Sue’s words, “to be more mobile, more efficient and increase collaboration between customers, suppliers and employees”.
Cultivating end-user trust in the security of cloud computing has been a major focus for techUK and its members, viewing misconceptions as a barrier to adoption. Recent papers, co-created by techUK and the wider cloud and cyber security community, have been developed specifically to assist building organisations trust in the security of cloud.. Despite the climbing number of organisations, from small start-ups and SMEs to multi-national corporations and even central government departments, opting for the cloud, there are many organisations who are yet to benefit. Continued adoption in a world of breaches and insider threats will depend upon CSPs inspiring faith in the security. For Sue this is not only an industry objective but a national one, claiming that “we need to do more to get the good news out about the range of opportunities cloud services can deliver to businesses and keep the UK at the forefront of cloud adoption.”
You can catch Sue Daley’s talk on Cyber Considerations for the UK’s Cloud Journey at the Cyber Security Summit and Expo