Secure innovation on the cloud: Growth and adaptation

The economic opportunity for businesses of all sizes across Asia is significant. The International Monetary Fund states that Asia will contribute about 70% of global growth this year, and that Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are all returning to their robust pre-pandemic growth.

Regardless of the industry, data has become the backbone of our growing economies, and protecting personal and sensitive data is a top priority. Combined with emerging technologies such as generative AI, the cloud offers a highly secure and cost-effective starting point for any organisation striving to meet this economic opportunity. When change is constant, cloud technology is the best option for businesses and governments to adapt to challenges, scale innovation, and design their security to meet the needs of customers and citizens today and into the future.

We witnessed this first-hand with the accelerated digital transformation during the pandemic. Enterprises like Zoom increased their services from 10 million active users to 300 million. This expansion required them to enhance advanced security threat detection and incident response systems to defend their network.

Telemedicine startups such as Doctor Anywhere and Halodoc rapidly developed new business models in ASEAN on the cloud, ensuring high availability of patient care services and security of sensitive patient data. Public sector organisations also provided digital contactless citizen services quickly across the globe. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched the Co-WIN app that scales to support 10 million user registrations for vaccinations daily. All of this was achieved on the cloud, an optimal environment for innovation.

Security enables this speed of innovation

Innovation powered by digital technologies enables experimentation, which can present new challenges to businesses and organisations. While all risk cannot be eliminated, organisations can’t afford to slow the innovation process with rigid security measures.

How can companies achieve this? As Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon and ex-CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), once said, “Invention requires two things: One, the ability to try a lot of experiments, and two, not having to live with the collateral damage of failed experiments.”

Modern cloud security approaches allow organisations to move fast and stay secure, avoiding rigid and excessive controls, in favour of embedded security and a high level of automation. Companies that choose to innovate on the cloud can implement security measures at every stage, from planning, design, and testing, to deployment, maintenance, and improvement. This allows companies to both innovate securely, and leverage security innovations.

So, how do cloud services help balance security and innovation without compromising cost effectiveness?

Democratised access to security tools and services

Cloud services are being utilised by organisations across various industries, including Singapore’s Health Information Integration System, the government of Telangana in India, the Digital Agency in Japan, and Samsung Electronics in Korea. Using cloud services enables customers to reduce work that they typically would have had to manage themselves. They can benefit from the size and scale of global cloud infrastructure, proactive innovation with cutting-edge technology, and the automation of security measures.

Security is the paramount consideration for organisations when embracing cloud services, particularly in highly regulated sectors such as government, financial services, and healthcare. Cloud service providers prioritise building robust security features into their infrastructure to help customers across all industries meet stringent security requirements.

Democratising access to security technology levels the playing field for innovation by reducing barriers to entry for startups and small and medium-sized businesses. By lowering access costs, the cloud allows smaller companies to utilise the same advanced security services as large enterprises, including those enhanced by AI and machine learning. Smaller organisations can also leverage communities of support, such as IT service partners, to find answers to their questions or access programs and initiatives provided by cloud service providers to enhance their cloud and cybersecurity skills.

Innovative and evolving security capabilities

Cloud service providers must continually reinvest in security for the benefit of customers. By constantly updating their security capabilities to keep pace with evolving global security issues, they can offer customers up-to-date protection services. For example, some providers offer a range of security capabilities for organisations to protect themselves against ransomware. These may include visibility into their cloud environment, the ability to update and patch efficiently, seamless and cost-effective ways to back up data, and mechanisms to template their environment, all to enable a rapid return to a secure state.

Open standards, such as the Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework (OCSF), further simplify security monitoring. The OCSF makes it possible to take in data across different systems, compile and analyse them collectively, then prioritise security issues. This information is displayed on a dashboard, reducing complexity and time spent on sense-making and monitoring. This enables organisations using the cloud to optimise security productivity costs by shifting to higher-level security tasks.

Cloud model driven by cost optimisation

Companies using the cloud can reinvest security cost savings into innovation. Being on the cloud minimises fixed expenses and operational overheads, such as provisioning, managing, and securing data centres.

It also reduces the complexity of managing multiple security services and allows businesses to pay only for what they consume. With secure cloud infrastructure and access to native cloud security tools, customers can achieve better levels of security than before, and at a lower cost.

The sky’s the limit

Security does not hinder innovation. Cloud technology enables organisations of all sizes, across all industries, to leverage highly secure digital technologies for driving advanced innovation.

With the right security culture, a mindset to embrace cloud security as an essential prerequisite for innovation, and access to the suite of security technology that the cloud makes available, organisations are better equipped to navigate their digital and innovation journey and seize the enormous economic opportunity that Asia holds.