PwC has agreed an alliance with Skyhigh Networks, a US-based cloud security company. As part of the partnership, the accounting and consulting giant will include Skyhigh Networks’ offerings as a standard proposition in its services portfolio.
In recent years the importance of (online) security has gone through the roof, thrust up by the rapid increase of digital consumers and online connected devices*, with on the flip side the rise of digital crime, lured by the great potential to get hold of (financial) gains. According to a recent report from internet security software giant McAfee, worldwide losses stemming from cybercrime hit £266 billion last year, with the less conservative estimate stating the damage caused could be as high as £342 billion – between 0.5% and 0.8% of global GDP. Another study, by PwC UK, found that the average cost of a cybersecurity breach to a large organisation in the UK now stands at between £1.5 million to £3.14 million.
Despite the high costs that come with cybercrime, and the growing awareness and effort put into fighting e-crime, several studies have of late shown that organisations are still not sufficiently prepared for cyber-attacks, in part due to the evolving nature of the domain, as well as the professionalisation e-criminals are undergoing. A recent study by EY for instance reveals that only 12% of managers believes their information security lines of defense fully meets the organisations’ needs.
To gain better grasp of the phenomenon, organisations are turning to cloud security experts, such as Microsoft, HP, SAP and Skyhigh Networks, and services firms in the cybersecurity landscape that specialise in tackling (elements) of the IT security value chain. On the supply side, to meet demand, services firms are bolstering their expertise, footprint and portfolios – IBM for instance earlier this month teamed up with AT&T to launch a cloud-based cyber security offering, while Capgemini is spending an estimated £18 million to establish a dedicated security centre in Treforest, South Wales.
In one of the latest moves by a consultancy to bolster its cloud security footprint, PwC – the globe’s largest accounting and consulting network – has joined forces with Skyhigh Networks, a California-based security specialist founded in 2011 (by Rajiv Gupta). The firm, not so long ago recognised by NetworkWorld as one of the top 10 security startups in North America, supports over 500 enterprises worldwide including Aetna, Comcast, Cisco and Western Union with gaining visibility into all cloud services in use and their associated risk. With the information, companies can gain more grip on shadow IT – which according to Atos daughter Canopy amounts to €13 million a year in large organisations – and at the end of the line reduce their proneness to cybercrime.
The partnership between the two companies follows existing ties. PwC and Skyhigh Networks have been working together for a while – PwC for instance last year struck a regional alliance with the security expert in Australia and New Zealand – and on the back of mutual satisfaction the firms have now decided to intensify their coalition. As part of the deal, PwC will add Skyhigh Networks’ service to the sales and implementation toolbox of its cybersecurity consultants. The move further boosts PwC’s cybersecurity offerings, giving them a more end-to-end edge, says Bram van Tiel, advisor at PwC in the Netherlands, and builds on a previous alliance with Tanium, another US-based IT security firm.
Van Tiel: “Employees nowadays increasingly look for IT solutions outside the traditional boundaries of the IT department. Think for example of cloud services to store documents, enabling them to work remotely or at home. Although such solutions may benefit productivity and innovation, it also brings along risks. Through this partnership we can better support our clients with dealing with such types of questions.”
EY and Mycroft
In a similar push for a more complete cybersecurity portfolio, three months ago rival EY acquired Mycroft, a New York-based provider of cloud-based identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) and identity and access management (IAM) services.
* According to a study by PwC, the number of connected devices globally will grow from around 9 billion today to around 50 billion in 2020.