The reality of today’s world is that employees are more mobile than ever, which means that their data is spread across more environments than ever before. Hybrid work is now cemented as the forever work style for many South African businesses, but with that flexibility comes a new volume of points of vulnerability.

This requires a new approach to security – businesses need cloud-based security that follows data and users wherever they are. As this process can be complex, organisations need a simple way to secure their cloud services.

“The most important step for businesses facing an uptick in cloud-related cyberattacks is to simplify the unnecessary complexities within their cloud security, so that they can respond to cloud-based security incidents more effectively,” says Tim Stone, director of channel sales at Skyhigh Security, the former cloud security division of McAfee Enterprise.

“South African businesses need to ensure that they are protected against threats around all critical data, by using an integrated platform for security,” he adds. “This will give them greater visibility into their cloud security, as well as better control of it, so that they can more seamlessly monitor and respond to threats.

“This not only helps businesses protect themselves and their customers, but it also lowers the various associated costs of managing the often complex cloud-security structures, increases the levels of efficiency, and helps businesses ensure they’re far easier to keep up with global transformations.”

There are some key differentiators that businesses seeking a cloud security solution should consider, so that they can respond to threats in real time.

* Keep cloud security simple – In the complex world of cloud security, it’s smartest to keep things simple – so choosing a solution that operates as a single platform with a single portal means that organisations can have complete visibility and control, and can seamlessly monitor and mitigate security risks. This means that costs are kept under control, more efficiencies are possible, and the platform keeps pace with innovation in security.

* Define your own policies – An organisation’s cloud security policy will evolve over time as new threats and remedies present themselves. This calls for a regular review of the threat landscape and modification of defences accordingly. Among the promising new technologies and strategies for protecting cloud computing are; higher levels of security automation, artificial intelligence for quicker threat detection, and service-based cloud security platforms.

* Comprehensive data protection – Choose a solution that secures data across the web, cloud, and private applications – from anywhere, on any application, and on any device. This could be via software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions. A solution that’s designed with user experience in mind, that simplifies data flows and security policies, is ideal.

* Choose what works best for you – Choose a vendor that first assesses your business’s needs and its boundaries, and that can respond with a solution that meets your requirements, whether your business prefers an on-premises solution or a fully cloud-based option. It’s vital that you’re able to choose the simplest and most comprehensive platform that helps you lower costs and most importantly, a fast response if a cyberattack is attempted.

“A security service edge (SSE) cloud security approach unifies all security services, via a data-centred approach to security that offers 360-degree access control to the web, cloud, or private data centres via user-friendly dashboards but expands to include how the data is used, shared, and created,” Stone adds.