Should European critical companies move to Google GSuite ?

Give the data to the US evil

For the last year, I have seen companies like Airbus and Air Liquide moving to Google Suite. I thought, you have to be kidding me ! And with my US experience, dozen of cybersecurity experts from Europe asked for my opinion. And here it is.

From a Cybersecurity perspective

The first time I read that Airbus was moving to Google Suite, I was chocked. Even coming back from the US, I could not believe it. Airbus is in competition with Boeing. For me, it was obvious, Boeing will benefit directly from all the data from it’s main competitor. In my own experience, I benefited from that kind of information from the Intelligence Community for my own business.

Airbus A380

The day after, when the emotions were decreasing, I started to have a more pragmatic approach. Yes, the US could get access to Airbus data, but they already can do it. If you consider the way we work, we already have US technology everywhere. From hardware, with Intel chips, to OS with Windows and of course to software, with Microsoft Office, Sales Force and many others. It is also true from an infrastructure side with data-centers full of Cisco and VMWare. And all this is used in the most critical companies in Europe. So using another US technology won’t change totally the things. At least, it will just make it easier to have data leak.

Silicon Valley

But wait a minute, why are we talking about US technologies ? I have been both in Washington DC at the heart of the US cybersecurity and in the Silicon Valley. I remember that speaker from the FBI at a conference in Washington DC, he could not understand that the companies from Silicon Valley could block investigation from the US. In fact people from Silicon Valley are committed to help the world not the US from my experience

But why, do big companies like Airbus decide to move to Google ? I talked with many CISO from big corporation. And in fact, they all have Microsoft Office with internal servers. Microsoft is pushing every company to move to Office 365 within the cloud. And yes, the main alternative today to Office 365 is Google GSuite. That may explain the current situation.

From a business perspective

I do believe cybersecurity must enable Business. And, from a business side, solutions like Google Gsuite make the life of everyone easier. Deploying collaborative solutions is much easier. Most of users already use it at home. So at the end, it makes employees and so all the organization much more efficient. I worked recently in a big European company without all this. It was like moving back to 15 years ago, where emails was the main way to collaborate as a team. So you have 2 choices, move to solutions like Google or Office 365, or stay in the old way, be less competitive. If you chose the second option, I guarantee you that you will be over.

From a cost perspective, every thing changed. I was used to big project with heavy maintenance. Moving to cloud solution let you focus on your business. From a licencing perspective, with 10$ per user per month, it looks already cheaper. But if you consider, you do not need so many people to maintain it, so many subcontractors, it is a huge cost reduction. And for main big companies, we are talking about saving millions of euros. And yes, there are risks. But if you are not able to stay competitive, and loose market shares, cybersecurity doesn’t matter anymore.

Solution

So moving to Office 365 or Google Gsuite is now like an obligation, even for critical companies. As you may know, I am found of the problem solving approach. So just let’s accept that move to the cloud, and as cybersecurity experts let’s help it. For big corporation, it means to do risks analysis, and find technical solutions to manage it.

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