Striking The Right Balance: Cloud and Cyber Priorities for SMEs
Mark AllenMark Allen

Striking The Right Balance: Cloud and Cyber Priorities for SMEs

By Mark Allen, Head of cyber, CloudCoCo

As small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) embark on their digitalization journey, they face a crucial dilemma: Should they prioritize the adoption of cloud solutions or enhance their cyber security defences? Both aspects are essential, but finding the perfect equilibrium can be a daunting task, especially when IT budgets are tight.

In this article, we turn to Mark Allen, head of cyber security at UK-based technology firm CloudCoCo, to gain insights into the most pressing priorities for SMEs.

Cloud adoption has witnessed a significant surge in recent years, and for good reason. It offers scalable infrastructure, enhanced collaboration tools, and cost efficiency, among other benefits. The ability to streamline operations, scale services on demand, and respond rapidly to market dynamics has made it an indispensable force in the modern business landscape.

Nevertheless, digital transformation brings its own set of challenges. With more data storage, networking components, and virtualized resources in the cloud, the potential for threat actors to exploit vulnerabilities increases. As such, SMEs must carefully weigh the advantages against potential security and privacy risks.

Establishing trust among customers and stakeholders is vital for organizations aiming to carve out a strong market presence. However, an excessive focus on cyber security might impede the seamless support that cloud adoption can offer. Striking the perfect balance between these two priorities is essential.

Assessing priority factors

Cyber security should serve as a foundational consideration that informs cloud strategy, rather than act as an afterthought. Just as every organization has unique needs, the extent of security measures required varies. For instance, a financial services firm handling sensitive customer data will likely need more robust security than a creative agency. Growth aspirations also play a pivotal role; as a business expands,so does the blast radius of potential cyber attacks.

Contrary to popular belief, SMEs don’t have to exhaust their financial resources. Cyber security can be a significant but necessary investment, but it’s about focusing on smart strategies that provide robust protection during the transition to the cloud. These investments should not solely revolve around prevention though, as perpetrators are often one step ahead. Identifying, isolating, and remediating risks at the earliest opportunity should be the focus, as even well-intentioned employees can make mistakes.

Securing endpoints should be a top priority.

Conducting an in-depth analysis of an SME’s existing tech infrastructure – including legacy on-premises systems and elements already in the cloud – can reveal vulnerabilities that are compromising your firm’s security posture and uncover redundant systems that may be inflating budgets. This analysis ensures that systems are truly optimized before proceeding with the cloud transition, as integrating security mid-migration poses greater risks.

While hyperscalers like AWS, Microsoft, and Google offer valuable services, organisations’ cyber security responsibilities do not vanish when migrating to the public cloud. Factors like firewalls, encryption, and endpoints still require careful consideration.

Security matters

As the migration progresses, cyber security should no longer be viewed in isolation but as an integral part of the broader cloud adoption project. A comprehensive approach — combining expert guidance, advanced technology, and continuous evaluation — is key to achieving a successful, integrated strategy. Cyber threats evolve constantly, rendering today’s measures potentially inadequate for tomorrow. SMEs must stay at the forefront of technology to effectively combat ever-changing challenges. Seeking the assistance of a cloud-agnostic security expert for a comprehensive review can significantly enhance proactive measures, whilst keeping costs from spiraling.

Cyber risk assessments, often incorporating AI and automation alongside human expertise, provide a holistic view of an SME’s security posture. This analysis yields a general security score that guides further development to mature the cloud roadmap.

In the world of cyber security, just as in academics, it’s wise not to grade your own homework. With higher stakes and increasing risks, SMEs shouldn’t treat their digital tech estateany differently.

About the Author

Striking The Right Balance: Cloud and Cyber Priorities for SMEsMark Allen is the Head of cyber of CloudCoCo. He is the latest addition to the Cloud CoCo senior team, bringing with him 18 years of technical and commercial industry experience. Having worked for a number of telecoms, software, and digital transformation organisations during his career, his last three roles have centered on strengthening the MSP offerings within UK ISPs. Attracted by CloudCoCo’s ambition to become a modern MSP with a difference — not least due to it’s recently unveiled multi-cloud proposition for customers that want to hyperscale — he now leads on the firm’s cybersecurity offering.

Mark can be reached online at (Mark.Allen@cloudcoco.co.uk ,

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-allen-61a8a31a/ ) and at our company website https://cloudcoco.co.uk/

February 3, 2024

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