Did security take a backseat in Asia’s rush to cloud during the pandemic?

by Simon Cohen

The pandemic came as a shock and disrupted the way we usually do business. Suddenly large office buildings, open workspaces, and gatherings had to be shut down on short notice. The workforce was moved to remote locations, home office, or split-up into small groups. Solutions for remote working were put into action overnight, and companies had to adapt to cloud-based workspaces.

Security left in the backseat

The impact of the pandemic hit Asia severely. Management teams were forced to rethink how they operated their businesses, and it had to happen fast. When companies were forced to implement solutions quickly, there was no time for proper security measures. Meetings, collaborations, planning, and interaction had to go digital.

To prevent a long-term shutdown of operations, these things had to come into play fast and without proper security screening. Managers focused on getting business back to usual, while IT-departments had to follow suit, trying to find and block any issues along the way. 

Fast adaptation from physical workspace to a cloud solution made gradual adaption impossible, leaving the standard security measures out of reach. Increased migration to the cloud has resulted in increased threats toward intranets around Asia. Hackers are trying to find loopholes left unattended by solutions that were rushed, creating attractive opportunities for a quick profit. 

As a result, malicious malware and targeted attacks have increased as much as 50% in certain areas.

Temporary solutions here to stay

While most implementations are put in place to cope with the ongoing pandemic, management is now preparing for some measurements to stay in place permanently. Some of the implemented measures include less office space, flexibility for workers to choose their work location, and effective cloud interface implementation. 

According to a Gartner report, 80% of management asked about their thoughts around companies taking a more flexible and digital approach in the future, say yes. The consensus also suggests that they believe solutions implemented during the pandemic will remain long-term. 

The abrupt move from traditional operations to the home office has changed how management sees possibilities around operations. Offering new flexible solutions to employees is a benefit for the employees and a way for companies to cut back on large office locations and save expenses. 

For businesses focusing more on digitalization, content, and user experience, cloud services’ quick adaption can put their services at risk. Consumer behavior has forced companies to focus more on their digital presence, making it one of their most important areas of interaction with potential customers. The fast transition to cloud computing and lack of security infrastructure put business livelihoods at risk. 

Asia the fastest growing cloud computing market

The fast adaption for thousands of companies has created the largest and most valuable market for cloud computing giants—predictions estimating total spending on cloud computing to increase significantly in the near future. International cloud giants Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud all try to carve their piece of what is estimated to be the most valuable cloud market going forward. 

Foreign giants trying to enter the Asian markets struggle against the local IT giants Baidu, Alibaba Cloud, and Tencent. Despite the hostilities against foreign brands, the local brands also find it tough to enter the external markets. This benefits the regional powerhouses while they secure their profitable business in the home markets, using this muscle to flex into foreign markets overseas. 

The future of cloud computing a game for giants

While Asian cloud markets are estimated to be worth US$76 billion by the end of 2023, the market is dominated by only six competitors. The cost of taking shares in the growing cloud segment is increasing rapidly. Increased focus on security, accessibility, and function requires more massive servers parked in more locations to optimize speed. 

Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, and China Telecom are the dominant players in the Asian cloud market. AWS, Baidu, and Huawei follow suit but have significantly smaller shares. While Alibaba Cloud has almost 40% of the Asian cloud market, it struggles to maintain and further increase its stake. 

Competition from smaller firms such as Baidu and Huawei are carving out shares of the market. With 76% percent of Asian companies transitioning to cloud services in the near future, security focus will be significant. The cost and development of proper cloud infrastructure will squeeze out any small competitors unable to keep up with the development costs.

The Asian cloud computing market is expected to grow significantly as more companies are forced to transition onto digital solutions faster than first expected. The quick transition to digital work solutions and hasty implementation of digital tools put security in the backseat while management is trying to get their optimal output back on track. 

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