Outside the IT community, a CISO is perceived as ‘someone who keeps the bad guys away’. This may be true, but a lot of my time is spent on ‘how to make sure the business keeps running’. The most well-known control for this is ‘the backup’, but there are many more. Another important control, for example, is ‘secure software development’, which addresses both the software development process as well as the quality of the software developed. Nowadays many applications are built for the web using scalable architectures and are running in the cloud. The current Corona virus induced situation is putting these applications to the test. Can the promised resilience and scalability really be achieved?
To illustrate, the educational platform Squla was literally flooded last week. The number of downloads (normally 2,500) rose to 37,000 per day. 180,000 children and 25,000 adults logged in simultaneously, three times as much as normal, according to Squla. The number of servers have increased from 70 to 200, but the 9 a.m. peak remains difficult to process. (source NRC Handelsblad, 19th March 2020). I think it is quite an achievement to handle such a great increase (15x!) in such a short time.
VodafoneZiggo and KPN networks providing residential internet services in the Netherlands seem to be handling the extra load well. Apparently, the peak during sports events like football or Formula 1 is higher than the ‘work from home’ demand. Still, there are many complaints to be found on various internet forums. Not all ‘work from home’ solutions are coping well, due to network hiccups, e.g. virtual desktop solutions, audio and video need a constant connection. I am personally experiencing few problems using a laptop and VPN. My wife however, using a virtual desktop on the same network, is kicked out every now and then. It’s not perfect, but workable, most of the time!
In 2009, during the previous pandemic, working from home wasn’t very mainstream. This has changed over the past decade. More applications are web based, and you only need a browser to use them. The cloud made these applications scalable and the demand for video streaming services provided for good internet services. Thanks to these systems a lot of work can still be done during this lock-down. I’m proud of the ICT community for creating all these systems!
Of course, it wouldn’t have been this good without security.
I’m proud of the security community too :).
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