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What cyber trends to expect in 2016

Todd Bell | Dec. 11, 2015
Thirteen security executives break out their crystal balls to delve into what is on the cybersecurity horizon for next year.

west east
Credit: Garry Knight

2015 was another tumultuous year of more cybersecurity attacks and no different from the past few years. While it is nice to finally see cybersecurity becoming a priority with executive leadership teams and company boards alike, there is still plenty of room to improve as the attack vectors continue to evolve.

The industry is changing where we now have companies monitoring the pubic Internet traffic and assigning company rankings/scoring process for every US company. It is similar to Standard & Poor’s in which a bank’s credit rating may be impacted for poor cybersecurity. Everything is changing at a rapid pace. In particular, five technologies appear to be driving forces in spurring new industries and gadgets that create a completely new landscape for computer hackers, according to industry experts. These fundamental technologies consist of the following:

Wearable technology--This new frontier of miniaturized personal gadgets can improve our health while also take mobile connectivity to a completely new level -- yet security appears to be an afterthought.

Internet of Things (IoT)—IoT will have a huge future, because we are “network enabling” every possible interface in our lives that can range from unlocking our front door on our mobile phones to smart cities that can intelligently manage traffic flows to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. While this is exciting technology, the security flaws are enormous and could stifle adoption.

Big Data—This market segment is exploding with aggregating consumer data to analyze purchasing behavior, spotting society trends, to medical research. The biggest drawback, security breaches are going to get worse and more difficult to fix. As more data is aggregated with our population, companies will be selling and buying this information to aggregate with other data sets and this means big personal profiles are already being built for every citizen. If you think the NSA is bad about collecting your data, Big Data is collecting far more information than the NSA and imagine what a Big Data security breach will look like when a company loses 50-plus critical data elements of “you.”

Network Based End Point Security--This market is exploding because enterprises can no longer effectively manage their patch management program and traditional anti-virus does not effectively protect against zero-day attacks. When operating system patches are implemented, the applications that reside on these operating systems will most likely malfunction. This is causing a patching problem, because upgrading applications can be a one-year project because of the configuration management, process changes, and employee training. End point security has transitions from a “nice to have to a must have.”

Cloud services—Rapid cloud adoption is fueling the shear economies of scale to being able to have quick solutions within 30 days versus waiting for the IT department to deliver a solution in nine months. Cloud services has empowered every cross functional area in a business to shop for the IT services they need, because their own IT department cannot deliver as fast as a cloud service provider. While cloud services may be popular, who is accountable for security in the cloud beyond a contract is still questionable.


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