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Monday, March 4, 2024

Leverage cloud technologies for cybersecurity

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The Philippine government and private enterprise should leverage cloud technologies to improve their cybersecurity and resilience

Every time you log on to the internet to access your social media and other apps on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or personal computer, you are experiencing the benefits of all the available innovations of cloud technologies.

Being connected to the internet has become an indispensable utility just like electricity and water supply needs to be available 24 by 7.

According to the latest Pulse Asia Survey conducted June–September 2023, three-fourths of Filipino adults use the internet, with 74 percent accessing it multiple times daily and saw a 7 percent increase in daily usage.

Everyone in the Philippines uses the internet to check their social media (100 percent).

Most also go online to consume political news (90 percent) and other topics they like (77 percent).

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Other online activities include emailing (40 percent), e-commerce (35 percent), and online learning (8 percent).

This clearly illustrates how dependent – some experts would even say, how “addicted” – people are to scrolling and clicking away at their devices which has become a societal phenomenon that if used productively creates new opportunities to becoming a thriving digital economy which the government is aggressively pursuing in its digital transformation initiatives.

Government policies are being updated to be responsive to the bureaucracy-disruptive digital technologies such as the E-Governance Act recently passed by the House of Representatives that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. highlighted as a priority and the aligned priority projects of the Department of Information and Communications Technology such as the eGov PH, eLGU, eTravel, eGovPay, eGovCloud, and eReport apps with the objective of providing more convenient, efficient and transparent government transaction.

The DICT’s EGovCloud is said to be the “Cloud First Policy” of government wherein it will use a hybrid cloud strategy that integrates private and off-premise public clouds services for government agencies.

It is good to also be reminded that the DICT prescribed its Cloud First Policy for all government agencies in 2017 and amended it in 2020 to provide clear guidelines on data classification and security in the cloud.

This policy aims to enhance cybersecurity by leveraging global solutions, innovations, and services, as well as ensuring compliance with Philippine laws.

It also offers benefits such as flexibility, security, and cost-efficiency for cloud users.

The fast evolving cloud technologies have democratized access to information, online services, and communication.

But with all its great potential, the ease of accessing the internet has also created a dark side wherein cybercrime actors and syndicates are using the internet to harm or exploit others.

They pose a serious threat to governments, enterprises, and individuals, as they can steal sensitive information, disrupt critical infrastructure, or cause financial losses.

Cybercrime actors can be motivated by various factors, such as money, ideology, or espionage.

Some of them are sponsored by nation-states, while others operate independently or in networks. Cybercrime actors use various techniques and tools to carry out their attacks, such as phishing, hacking, malware, ransomware, or denial-of-service.

According to a recent Microsoft Security report, they are blocking 4,000 identity attacks per second and identified over 300 threat actors, 160 nation-state actors, 50 ransomware groups and hundreds more.

Over 100,000 domains have been removed, 600 of these are state sponsored. More than 750 billion signals per second are being processed to protect its system and global subscribers against digital threats and cybercrime.

For Microsoft to deliver this level of cybersecurity, it employs a global network of well over 10,000 engineers, researchers, data scientists, cybersecurity experts, threat hunters, geopolitical analysts, investigators, and frontline responders that use sophisticated data analytics and Artificial intelligence algorithms to understand and address harmful cyberactivity.

These are compelling insights from just one of the major cybersecurity that has guided several countries with the biggest and highly digitized economies.

To mention a few, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Germany are leveraging cloud technologies to bolster their cybersecurity resilience and are incorporating them into their cybersecurity strategies.

Cloud technologies offer many benefits for the Philippine government and private enterprises in terms of cybersecurity and resilience.

Unlike in premise solutions, which require costly and complex infrastructure, maintenance, and updates, cloud solutions provide scalable, flexible, and cost-effective services that can be accessed from anywhere and anytime.

Cloud solutions also enable faster and more efficient recovery from cyberattacks, natural disasters, or other disruptions, as they can leverage multiple backup servers and data centers across different locations across the globe.

Moreover, cloud providers have more advanced and updated security measures and protocols than in premise solutions, as they invest heavily in research and development, employ experts, and comply with global standards and regulations.

This points out a financial and human resource limitation that government and all private enterprises will not need to worry about because the highest level of cybersecurity can be engaged on a subscription basis.

Therefore, the Philippine government and private enterprise should leverage cloud technologies to improve their cybersecurity and resilience, as well as to enhance their productivity, innovation, and competitiveness in the global digital arena.

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