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Monday, March 27th, 2017

Security

A data-first protection plan for cloud-first strategies

Nearly three quarters of ASEAN small and medium enterprises (SMEs) polled in an online survey earlier this year felt that their data is most secure when under their own IT department rather than under a cloud service provider.

The study, commissioned by Barracuda Networks, shows that while 20% of responders were already extensively using cloud services, 71% said that they are not likely to adopt a cloud-first strategy.

“At a macro level, the key findings of the survey show that while cloud adoption is high overall, the appetite to move the entire data center to cloud is still limited,” explains James Forbes-May, Barracuda Networks’ vice president of APAC Sales. “Additionally, 69% of participants reported having no preference on cloud use, which points to cloud adoption among the SMEs in the region still being very reactive.”

Tentative steps

Although the survey points to SMEs increasingly trusting cloud providers to keep their data safe via fundamental tools and services, backup and data recovery is the biggest cloud migration concern for 28% of the respondents and security is the top concern for 26% of them.

“So while SMEs are starting to add cloud as a part of their strategy, they are not necessarily pushing everything to cloud just yet,” adds Forbes-May.

One area where cloud adoption has gained traction, however, is cloud office tools. Gartner estimates that by 2022, more than 70% of enterprises will use these tools. According to Windows Central, Microsoft is now reporting 70 million active Office 365 users per month. Many of these businesses are leveraging SharePoint Online to store, organize, share and access team information securely from just about anywhere.

Aligned with this growth, Barracuda – whose flagship Email Security Gateway has been protecting its customers from email attacks for nearly 15 years – is not only adapting new technologies to its threat detection and mitigation systems but also deploying and managing its solutions as physical and virtual appliances, public cloud deployments, and hosted solutions in Barracuda Essentials for Email Security and Barracuda Essentials for Office 365.

Low-risk cloud migration

“Data protection methods have seen tremendous innovation in the last decade,” says Forbes-May. “We have a great opportunity to enable customers with secure cloud adoption that allows them to leverage the efficiencies and scalability of the cloud, while still making sure their data and assets are safe.”

Making it easy for businesses to leverage its email security expertise and its multi-layered security and data protection for Office 365, Barracuda’s solutions are centrally managed in one easy-to-use cloud-based platform.

A new layer of defense was recently added for Office 365 deployments. The Barracuda Email Threat Scan cloud-based service identifies latent threats that already reside in corporate email accounts, dovetailing with the Barracuda Essentials for Office 365, which provides the critical multi-layer security, archiving and backup tools required to prevent new attacks and to back up critical data for quick recovery from an attack.

Together, these solutions address a worrying finding from Barracuda’s recent analysis of 20,000 Office 365 mailboxes that found 93% of accounts had at least one advanced persistent threat (APT), with an average of 125 threats per account. The latent APT threat is very real and dangerous.

Criminals in one banking heist used latent malware that resided on the victims’ systems for an average of 42 days before they took action while the 2014 Sony Pictures hack was considered a 'perfect' example of an APT at work.

To prevent such attacks, the Barracuda Essentials for Office 365 easy-to-deploy suite of cloud services includes Advanced Threat Detection (ATD) for detecting sophisticated, zero-day, APTs, and ransomware variants including Locky and CrytoLocker. The ATD subscription-based service analyzes incoming files in the Barracuda ATD Cloud and assigns a risk score that determines how the files are handled based on local policies.

365-degree protection

Data protection has been bolstered with granular backup and recovery options in Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup – available as a standalone product or as part of Barracuda Essentials for Office 365 – for Microsoft SharePoint Online to help businesses easily restore individual files in their SharePoint Online environment, without having to perform a full-site restore. For organizations requiring longer retention times or support for external storage, the Barracuda Backup Export Tool enables customers to export data to external disk or tape in the local environment and to virtual tapes stored in Amazon Web Service for archiving.

“It’s rare to read the news and there not be an article about a company hit with a ransomware attack – and unfortunately the headlines came true for us,” said Eric Bouvier, director of information technology (IT), at US-based Auburn Public Schools. “Fortunately, keeping regular backups with Barracuda is a part of our overall strategy. We were able to work with Barracuda to restore our data quickly and avoided paying a ransom, which certainly minimized the impact to our organization, students and staff.

“As we consider various cloud migrations, with Barracuda we know we’ll be protected no matter where our data resides.”

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Barracuda Networks.