Keeping the cloud secure

By Lucy Wright

Cloud computing has changed the way we live and work, from how we communicate with friends and colleagues to the way we run our homes and our lives as consumers. Using cloud services and apps is so common now, it’s normal. We might not even know when we're doing it.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, cloud services have allowed many organisations to continue to operate as usual, with remote a workforce that can do their jobs from home instead of the office. Tools like Microsoft Teams and the Microsoft 365 stack have allowed people to collaborate as if they were in the same room and communicate as if they were next to one another.

All this is great, but it does come with some challenges.

The cloud has given us all access to vast numbers of apps and platforms that can be used in myriad ways but also (and perhaps of more concern) accessed from almost anywhere and on any device. Because of this, some organisations have dragged their heels when it comes to cloud adoption, believing the security risks are just too great. In fact, “how secure is the cloud?” is one of the most common questions we get asked about cloud migration. For some organisations, it's been a trade-off they find hard to accept.

Find out the other most commonly asked questions here.

But things are changing.

Where organisations once believed they couldn’t move to the cloud because of security, today, they’re moving to the cloud precisely for security. People and businesses are actively choosing to store their data and personal information in the cloud trusting and knowing it is secure enough to keep it protected.

Part of the reason for this, is the colossal investment Microsoft has made in securing its cloud platform.

More than 1.5 million attempts to compromise their cloud operations are detected by Microsoft every day. And while that might seem worrying, they treat each identified threat as an opportunity to create stronger and more sophisticated security tools to protect customer data. It’s also useful in helping to predict the kind of threats that might come next, and how they can be mitigated.

It’s important to remember that the cloud has been purpose-built to perform certain functions and meet certain criteria; and security has always been at the very centre of that. Since its inception, security and compliance have been the number one priority for cloud developers. They have recognised that cloud security must be nailed on - or else no one will touch it.

Put simply, if security isn’t done right, cloud services can’t and won't exist.

That’s why, from day one, cloud service providers have invested heavily in security. In fact, Microsoft spend $1 billion every year on cloud security alone.

Key Microsoft cloud security stats

  • Microsoft scans 400 billion Outlook and Office 365 emails a month looking for phishing scams and malware
  • Microsoft adds hundreds of gigabytes of telemetry to their Intelligent Security Graph every second
  • Every year, Microsoft spend $1 billion on cloud security

What this means for cloud customers, is they can be confident their data, apps and information are secure in the cloud. It’s true that moving from on-premises IT infrastructures to the cloud requires organisations to relinquish a certain amount of control – and put their trust fully in the cloud service provider. And while some organisations take time to reach a point where they feel comfortable doing that, they should be reassured, not deterred, by the fact that they will no longer be solely responsible for data security. Today, the onus is on cloud service providers to protect customer data at all costs; and they have entire teams dedicated to doing just that.

In Microsoft’s case, the Intelligent Security Graph is a key part of keeping their cloud secure and provides customers with what they describe as a kind of “group immunity” against malicious threats. When a threat to one Microsoft cloud service is identified, all cloud services are informed and protected against the threat, creating a kind of virtual safety net which covers the entire Microsoft cloud product stack.

Every second of every day, the graph is updated with new threats, and billions of pieces of information are analysed so that Microsoft security can stay one step ahead of would-be hackers. Deep and far-reaching signals pick up trillions of signals every day which are monitored and analysed by an expert team of engineers, analysts, researchers and even scientists. Data stored in Exchange Online mailboxes, email content and email attachments are encrypted using multiple encryption methods, protocols and ciphers.

This paired with machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions means that Microsoft can offer cloud customers “unparalleled protection” against malicious threats, data leaks, hacks and more.

Of course, there's much more to Microsoft's cloud security strategy; but you need only scratch the surface to see how seriously cloud security is taken. 

In the new age of cybersecurity, the cloud is nothing to be feared.

Next steps

Organisations that are thinking of migrating to the cloud can assess their readiness with our Cloud Readiness Solution.

Our one-time assessment establishes the current cloud maturity baseline in your business, and identifies the scope of potential changes to your current IT landscape required to move to the cloud.

Together, we'll help you analyse your existing environment, determine the best cloud computing model for your business and identify the workloads and areas that will help you improve service and reduce costs by moving to the cloud. 



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