2018: What a year it has been!
As we approach the end of the year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the kind of year it has been, and how I feel we’re shaping up for 2019.
Without a doubt, 2018 was the year of the public cloud. The global market grew at an unprecedented pace, with India leading in terms of widespread cloud adoption. Just as a market for public cloud services, India will likely end the year at a size of roughly USD 2.5B and is well on its way to being over a USD 4B market by 2020. Catalyzed by the rapid shift towards digital workplaces, strong government support, and companies’ need to scale rapidly in today’s competitive markets, there’s little doubt that cloud adoption will become a norm in the Indian economic scenario during 2019. A recent survey by Microsoft India and the Thought Arbitrage Research Institute, in fact, successfully demonstrated that small and medium businesses can improve cash flows by up to 308%, thanks to the flexibility provided by today’s cloud solutions, and that within just 2 years of using cloud, 96% of SMBs find a positive impact on their operating expenses. 
MS Office 365 continued its rise, demonstrating dominance over Google’s G-Suite and has now captured over 56% of the available market in workplace productivity. 
As much as this year was about radical changes in the ways organizations use and employ the cloud, it was also a year where we saw increased instances of data breach and malware attacks. Ransomware attacks, while they’ve decreased in frequency, have increased in sophistication. Healthcare companies are still the top targets of ransomware and the most vulnerable victims are those that don’t have reliable backups. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that globally the cost of damage due to ransomware attacks will reach $11.5 billion by 2019. What is worth paying attention to is that this number corresponds little to the ransom itself and has more to do with the cost associated with addressing a breach incident, including cost incurred due to downtime, emergency response, and lost opportunities. 
2018 was also the year where many companies suffered from what is called “wiper’ (malware) attacks, an intrusion that occurs at endpoints and affects the data therein. During the past few years, organizations have suffered several kinds of attacks that arrived in many shapes and forms, but none have been more impactful than this. Unlike malware that holds data for ransom (i.e. ransomware), authors of wiper malware have no direct financial motivation. For businesses, this often is the worst kind of attack, since there is no expectation of data recovery (unless, of course, they have their own backups). The main motivation behind such attacks is to foster an environment of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). And they’re usually designed to destabilize societies and make a public statement. As always, malware authors have managed to stay a step ahead of security vendors, and the only true defense for wiper or ransomware attacks is to have reliable data backups. Period.
GDPR came into effect in the May of 2018 — completely re-defining compliance for almost all businesses worldwide. Around the world, legislation is in the works to bring transparency to what happens with consumer data; as it moves from consumer endpoints to web portals to data servers. Regulation is increasingly putting the onus on enterprises and making them more accountable for transparency and data losses.
The California Consumer Privacy Act, which was passed in June 2018, immediately after GDPR, is one of America’s strictest data privacy laws till date, although not quite as stringent as the GDPR. It aims to give consumers more control over their privacy, and it holds enterprises responsible for any consumer privacy violation. When the law comes into effect in 2020, the companies required to comply will include tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
India, too, will soon be enacting a comprehensive data protection legislation — the Personal Data Protection Bill. Drawing on GDPR, it includes several hallmarks of landmark privacy laws, including a focus on individual consent, and the right to be forgotten.
With the inexorable move to the cloud, coupled with cyber-security threats and regulatory pressures — we recognize that this is not an enviable time for IT executives. The challenges for CIOs and CISOs have never been more daunting.
For our part, at Parablu, we’ve been busy working on solutions to make jobs easier for IT executives in this challenging environment. This year we’ve put out several new and updated versions of our software stack with enhanced features as well as improved scalability, reliability and resiliency.
- The BluVault Solution has been upgraded with Delegated Administration capabilities, foreign language support, stronger auditing, drill-down reporting, Azure AD support, as well as a “lite” version for smaller deployments.
- We’ve also made several improvements to our Secure Collaboration suite consisting of BluSync™ and BluDrive products, to allow automated content sharing, multi-way sharing, as well as several policy enhancements. We’re shortly adding features which will help organizations comply with the “right to be forgotten” notion that GDPR now mandates.
- To make it easy for customers to consume our solutions, we launched our hosted services this year. So, our products can be used by customers as a fully managed SaaS offering.
- From a business standpoint, we’ve strengthened existing partnerships, as well as built new ones. We signed distributor relationships with Satcom and Drulogic in India, as well as with Clouds Dubai in the UAE. We’ve also built out our partner network in India adding several new re-sellers.
We also launched our updated website https://www.parablu.com, now more comprehensive than ever. Our all-new support site will soon be made accessible to all our customers, allowing them to access the latest product documentation, and interface with our support desk team with ease. If you are one of our customers, please keep your eyes peeled for an email that should appear in your inbox in the next few days.
Overall, while the macro environment remains challenging and is prone to test our resilience every so often, we have never been more excited about the future. The cloud is here to stay. Regulatory and security challenges will remain, as they’ve always been — it is just that they acquire a new complexion with the cloud.
Thanks for a great year. Best wishes for a great holiday season and a prosperous 2019!