Not since Y2K has technology caused such wide-spread concern. The topic of the last few years, Cyber Security is on the lips of everybody, not just the IT team, and is a problem that some suggest we are woefully underprepared for.
However is this once again panic over nothing and if not how can we prepare ourselves for the worst? We're taking a look at the 3 key areas affecting IT defences and what this means for the future.
Cloud and SaaS
Organisations are moving with speed towards cloud-based applications for many of their business processes, however with the abundance of highly publicized security breaches many laymen are wary of how secure their data really is.
From Microsoft to Dropbox, from LinkedIn to Yahoo, no matter how big a company may be, the risk of a breach is very present, with all of the aforementioned organisations suffering attacks this decade.
Whilst more than one billion user accounts were compromised under Yahoo, the most high-profile breach was given to Apple, when dozens of celebrities had their private images leaked from the iCloud service.
In 2015, Silicon Angle announced that more than 60% of businesses use the cloud for IT applications and predicted that by the end of this year the global market for cloud computing would reach $79 billion.
These predictions are largely due to the significant number of benefits software-as-a-service (SaaS) offers, including the fact that it gives all companies access to the type of software that once upon a time only large companies could afford.
However with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation conducting stringent investigations into the runners of the public cloud, as its evolution gathers pace, it's important that we don't let our own security take a backseat to convenience.
Despite Forrester Analyst, Liz Herbert, saying "security is the number 1 reason preventing firms from moving to SaaS", SaaS still retains a spot on CIO priority lists, and there's a great many reasons for this. Experts suggest, however, that in order to be privy to the benefits of SaaS, enterprises need to completely overhaul their current security approach.
Ideally, all users of SaaS will have an internal team auditing their software implementations on a regular basis, however more needs to be done. From demanding details on how data centers are secured to focusing on cloud standards, better understanding of SaaS is essential.
Because Big Data is such a broad term and can be used to describe both structured and unstructured large volumes of data, the security parameters can become murky.
Despite its name, it's not the amount of data that matters but what organisations do with it. Big data can be a great analyzation tool, if used well, leading to better strategic decisions and allowing organisations to figure out where their information assets are. When combined with the right analytical tools, it can help determine root causes of failure, detect fraudulent risks and recalculate entire risk portfolios.
In the wrong hands however, affecting organisations across almost every industry, Big Data can unfortunately fool some companies into a false sense of security.
With many platforms neglecting to build in encryption and other security features, large amounts of data all in one place leave companies as sitting ducks to cyber criminals.
With enough information, resources and most importantly skilled data experts, Big Data could be a huge resource for organisations, however the skills gap the cyber market is currently dealing with has led to breaches in companies such as Home Depot, and Sony, who had as much as 100 terabytes of data leaked recently.
The Internet of Things
Over recent months, The Internet of Things has become a hot topic in security circles. With the introduction of devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, our network of objects connecting and sharing data has grown exponentially. We wear these devices on our wrists, in our ears and have them littered around our homes. In fact experts estimate that the IoT will consist of approximately 30 billion objects by 2020.
The idea then that data between these devices would not be shared and instead each would have to be programmed individually is near to impossible. However whilst we're all used to convenience, it doesn't mean we should be neglecting our security. In fact the easier our lives get, the more hackers can achieve. If for instance your mobile phone is hacked, the application that controls your office security could be at risk, along with all of the computers connected and the list goes on and on.
With so many devices offering potential breach points, device authentication is critical. So too is ensuring devices are kept up to date when it comes to security patches, firmware and software. Companies will roll out updates in order to patch the vulnerabilities in their product, however due to the recent rise in remote working, simply ensuring office-based computers are up-to-date is now only the tip of the iceberg.