Building business resilience: The power of a multi-cloud strategy against cyberthreats

By Rodney Kinchington

In the hyper-connected post-pandemic world, we have seen an increase in the number of businesses embracing cloud infrastructure in a race to digitise their operations. According to Flexera’s State of the Cloud 2023 report, 65% of those surveyed were heavy cloud users, compared to 63% in 2022, and business leaders expected cloud spending to increase by an average of 29% in the next year.

While this digital transformation offers early benefits, it also ushers in new and increasingly complex cybersecurity threats. A study conducted by Cybersecurity Ventures noted that the cost of cybercrime worldwide is predicted to reach $8 trillion in 2023 and will increase to $10.5 trillion in 2025. This is not surprising given the growing need to respond to ever expanding cybersecurity threats, as well as the rising numbers of data breaches and their associated costs.

According to IBM’s data breach report, the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million. Closer to home, the same research indicates that the average data breach cost for South African organisations reached over $2.63 million (R49.45 million) in 2023 – and that the country’s financial sector had experienced the highest average cost of data breaches totalling $3.89 million (R73.1 million), followed by the industrial and services sectors at $3.79 million (R71.37 million) and $3.12 million (R58.78 million), respectively.

While these threats can have widespread consequences if not properly managed, companies can take concrete steps to fortify their business continuity and data security efforts.

Optimising cybersecurity through cloud adoption strategies

In the realm of cloud adoption, businesses are presented with a range of strategies – single-cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid-cloud – all with their unique merits. Businesses have different needs, and adoption of the optimal cloud model relies heavily on the complexity, scale and compliance of their requirements.

Among these approaches, the single-cloud model is known for its security advantages, stemming from its simplicity in implementing cybersecurity measures and its clear accountability for data and traffic.

However, it is essential to recognise that relying on a single cloud can entail various risks, a key one being the potential limitation of data sovereignty. Moreover, an overreliance on a single cloud provider exposes companies to concentrated cybersecurity risks, such as data breaches and threats that could have more extensive consequences. It may also restrict a company’s flexibility to leverage alternative platforms that may better align with its specific business needs and objectives.

In the pursuit of heightened cybersecurity, data redundancy and reliability are paramount considerations. Here, the multi-cloud approach offers an added layer of security through the avoidance of vendor lock-in, and the ability to dilute cybersecurity risks across multiple platforms.

Mitigating the risks

In an ever-evolving technology landscape, adaptability and choice are valuable assets. These are factors that are made possible with a multi-cloud network, allowing businesses to connect and adapt to changes in people, data, and workloads efficiently, securely, and reliably.

According to the Flexera 2023 State of the Cloud Report, this is a strategy that 87% of the global companies surveyed have embraced, largely due to its flexibility in curating a range of cloud environments tailored to their needs, without being locked into a single vendor or contract. A multi-cloud infrastructure also bolsters business resilience by providing alternative resources and data storage options, effectively minimising downtime risks.

In the realm of cybersecurity, a multi-cloud strategy provides a similarly multi-faceted defence that complicates efforts to breach a company’s defences through consistent monitoring, threat detection, and prompt incident response.

That’s not to say that it does not come with its own set of challenges, such as managing compliance and data across multiple cloud providers and regions. Mismanagement could lead to fines, business disruption, or revenue loss, while siloed management tools could restrict data access for executives to make informed decisions.

The key to overcoming these challenges lies in aligning operational tools, processes, and personnel, through solutions such as investing in the right cloud management platform. This can help unify existing tools and streamline cloud management, and aid in creating a secure, compliant, and cost-efficient network.

Evolving with the times

Over time, it has become evident that each approach brings its own set of advantages and drawbacks. As such, it is important to recognise the significance of adopting a versatile, tailor-made approach that provides end-to-end visibility into a company’s infrastructure.

Gaining visibility, agility, and control over data management across clouds empowers key decision makers with the knowledge to ensure the optimisation of cost, efficiency, and security across their networks. BT’s  Hybrid Cloud Managed Services can help companies set up and manage on-premises private clouds, centralises public cloud access, and orchestrates change through cost analytics, governance policy, and automation. 

As the digital landscape evolves, so do the threats it presents. Even with a multi-cloud approach, companies should never compromise on vigilance. The best way to stay ahead is by building resilient strategies to weather the storm and leverage solutions at hand.

(Rodney Kinchington is the MD for Asia Pacific & MEA Regions at BT Business).


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