The quantum threat: Why the need to shift to quantum safe cryptography represents an opportunity to modernise and consolidate legacy approaches to data (and embrace the cloud)
by Felix SCHIESSL, Quantum Computing Community Lead – Accenture Autriche, Suisse, Allemagne & Russie
Both regulatory compliance and the constant risk of breakthroughs in cyber security represent disruptive forces in the ever-changing landscape of modern commerce. The potential threat of a future quantum attack poses an impending “technical debt” for businesses as quantum advantage looms across the horizon. Large global enterprises, banks and other heavily regulated industries can take years to migrate critical and operational data and by then it may be too late to act.
The technical transition from two-key to three-key triple DES encryption in 2010 took over 5 years for businesses to complete.1 More recently, the introduction of GDPR across the EU caused major upheaval as businesses scrambled to become compliant, sometimes at major expense. Even so there were those that remained astute and saw these regulations for what they were, a “data opportunity in disguise” yielding opportunities to build a more secure foundation for sustained growth and a competitive edge. 2
Business is competitive, and the short-term focus will always be on bringing the latest products to market as early as possible. Previously decision makers may have been loath to allocate time and budget into anything deemed “non-value add”, especially when the risks of not doing so always seemed just out of reach. COVID-19 has created a new inflection point in the digital transformation agenda and at the same time, the impending need to upgrade security protocols to those that mitigate against quantum threats is yet another data opportunity in disguise. Any sort of transformation represents a unique opportunity to go back to the drawing board and rethink your technical strategy in a way that leverages the most out of cutting-edge tools. 3
A key benefit of cloud migration and consolidation is the scope for new, previously infeasible methods for innovating and processing data like machine learning and quantum computing. It is important to strike while the iron is hot and turn such inflection points into opportunities to unlock the intelligence and insights trapped in legacy systems and draw out maximal potential in order to grow and modernise. Siloed and legacy on-premise data platforms can be slow and constrain the availability of data driven insights ranging from consumer analytics to supply-chain logistics and optimisation, meaning businesses might miss out on a competitive edge against more agile players. 4
Surrounding all the hype around quantum computing we should remember that quantum computers are simply a tool to solve certain types of problems with a speed benefit against other methods. As detailed by Tim Leonhardt et al5 it is important to understand what quantum technologies can and also can’t do. This requires drawing up a “long-list” of use-cases and then applying a series of “funnels” against the list to draw out areas where quantum computing will be advantageous and can offer a true value case. If this can be done concurrently with an end-to-end enterprise transformation, then this poses the possibility of designing truly “quantum-ready” organisations that are primed to become market leading innovators well into the future while reaping cost reductions, creating efficiencies and building new products and services. This delivery approach ensures platforms are purpose-built for future success while strengthening security and business outcomes in the now.
New use-cases and applications are progressively being realised and as the power of quantum computers continues to grow the number of use-cases is only expected to rise across a range of industries. Accenture is leading from the front in exploratory technology innovation having successfully delivered business experiments with clients such as BBVA6 and Biogen7.
Felix Schiessl drives Technology Innovation marketing and the Quantum Computing Community in Accenture´s Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Russia Technology Innovation team to identify and consult on go-to-market strategies and deliver QC applications.
Felix has been part of the German quantum computing team at Accenture since day one and helped ramp up Accenture´s quantum computing business in the German speaking market. He has experience in use case development, building relationships with vendors and ecosystems, quantum computing strategy and delivering quantum computing projects in the financial services and public sector industry. You can reach out to Felix via LinkedIn or Mail.