The prospect of Canadian enterprises being attacked by cybercriminals or rogue foreign agents grows each year, and Canada’s GDP is already losing $3.12 billion a year to cybercrime. There is a digital transformation underway, fuelled by organizations moving their data to the public cloud. If done securely, Canadian organizations can prevent expensive cyber breaches and keep their sensitive data from getting into the hands of dangerous adversaries.

International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that nearly a third of all organizations will embrace the public cloud by 2018. The lure of flexibility, speed, and scale that the cloud offers also means an expanded attack surface area, resulting in increased risk of breaches. “When planning to embrace the cloud, whether incrementally or all at once, organizations need to consider their security strategy in the initial conversation,” says Mark Anderson, President of Palo Alto Networks, the next-generation security company. “Companies that think about security early and focus on what will generate positive outcomes are the most successful.”

Cyber adversaries and their attack methods continue to evolve, creating new sophisticated and automated techniques in order to gain access to sensitive data in any or all corners of your network: your data centres, network devices, private or public clouds, or within SaaS applications.

Unfortunately, the cloud security market hasn’t been doing organizations any favours by releasing point products that solve only one of the many attack methods. As a result, organizations are left with a confusing and complex “conga line” of products that need to be strung together and independently managed — leaving gaping holes in their security posture and requiring expensive resources to operate. When considering the cloud, customers have yet another set of tools and policies to absorb, further compounding the issue. What they often miss is that cloud vendors protect the cloud infrastructure, but it is the customer’s responsibility to protect the data. This is called the shared security model. Finding a solution that provides protection not only in the cloud, but also across your entire network, including your data centres, endpoints, and SaaS applications, means you can kiss the conga line goodbye.

“As data becomes more and more distributed across data centres, private and public clouds, and SaaS applications, having complete visibility and consistent security measures becomes increasingly important to protect data no matter where it resides,” says Anderson. “It doesn’t have to be wildly complex.”

When considering a move to the cloud, smart Canadian organizations will include security as part of their initial planning and strategy, and will consider solutions that reduce complexity, require fewer vendors and resources to manage, and protect their data no matter where it resides. Following this course will keep our organizations from languishing in the conga line of confusion and help them quickly take advantage of all the benefits cloud computing has to offer.