Cyber-security, like all areas of IT, is evolving. There are plenty of changing demands in a very dynamic environment.
There’s no doubt that the core notions of cyber-security haven’t changed – there is an ongoing commitment to stability, usability, cost-effectiveness and control – but the changing landscape is demanding attention.
Let’s start with the coming challenges and trends: the cloud has the potential to develop instabilities as it grows, skills shortages continue to create strain, and the combination of DevOps and security should be a given.
The real world demands that we accept breaches will happen and that you are better off preparing for them, rather than pretending your defences are infallible. It’s also critical to realise that cyber-security flaws can have real-world consequences. If you want to be at the forefront of cyber-security and get ahead of potential issues, you’ll need to consider these top-notch trends.
Common ground could become a weakness: secure the cloud
The cloud is everywhere, and that is usually a very good thing for business. Operating from the cloud brings a lot of benefits in terms of efficiency and the competitive edge. As the cloud becomes a larger environment, it is possible that it will become a victim of its own success. As more and more people and companies demand cloud-based resources, there is a risk that it will become inherently unstable, or vulnerable to security threats. It will be up to you and you IT department to determine which companies are trustworthy in the cloud environment. Don’t be afraid to draw your resources close and be picky with vendors.
Cyber-security, skill sets and employment: shifting goalposts
Like many niches in the world of data management, cyber-security professionals are in short supply. In fact, it’s said that there are no unemployed IT security specialists. Particularly as the development of Big Data matures, there will be additional demand to protect this valuable IP. There are predictions that artificial security intelligence may be required to meet demand, simply due to the sheer amount of data being generated. Managing these AI components, the data and the analytics will still require human oversight. It’s not getting any simpler, and companies should be on the look-out to hire new staff to meet demand. If your company is proactive and has the resources, it may be prudent to consider in-house training as an option.
The one that will get away: accept that breaches will happen
That’s not an invitation to walk away from preventative and proactive cyber-security protocols. Having robust protective elements in place is critical to stop many attempted, often generalised, attacks. If a hacker is well-funded and absolutely determined access your information, there is ultimately no way to prevent that from happening. Being prepared for breaches and developing solid detection and response protocols are not signs of defeatism. They are pragmatic actions to take, given that cyber-attacks cost UK businesses £30 billion in 2016. Attacks don’t need to be unmitigated disasters, if there are appropriate and strategic response plans in place.
The start of a beautiful friendship: application development and data security
It’s a trend that makes sense as soon as you see it. Development Operations should absolutely be working in tandem with data security teams. The two sides of the coin should be working to create secure apps from the ground up, rather than attempting to patch or adapt them after they’ve been brought to market. Writing security into the fabric of apps will strengthen the quality of the app and has the potential to reduce downtime, too. This becomes even more vital as the time between development and launch gets shorter and shorter. Any work that can be done pre-launch to reduce risk is very clever business. If you aren’t collaborating to create your own apps in-house, speak directly with your providers to interrogate their security protocols.
Life or death: reliability in the real world has real-time consequences
It’s a heavy point but it must be made. If you are designing apps or controlling analytics that will have a real-time impact on human movement, you have lives in your hand. As the parade of automated vehicles becomes more prevalent, we will start to see how flaws in both design and security have consequences beyond financial loss. As with any smart, connected device, security is paramount. As mentioned above, teams will be absolutely required to write security into the apps that control not just vehicles, but traffic management protocols, health-monitoring devices and surveillance equipment. Hand in hand with security is the absolute necessity for reliability and predictability with these emergent technologies. Every step will need to be controlled, from the design and manufacture, through to the end-user environment. Down-time, glitches and breaches will cost lives if not predicted and managed appropriately.
Where is cyber-security headed in 2018 and beyond?
Cyber-security is predicated on accepting the unknown. You cannot secure everything, you won’t know the weaknesses until they are breached, you can’t know the security standards of your collaborators, and you will never be able to fix every flaw. When these points are accepted, it frees cyber-security teams up to focus on excelling at what is in their control. When there is good visibility into real-time situations and a reliable grasp on predictable outcomes, there is a lot of good that can be done. The trends listed above are opportunities for companies of all sizes to identify areas to build their defences.
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