If 2016 was the year of cyber attacks, 2017 is the year of prevention. Twelve months ago, experts were predicting an increase in the innovation and sophistication of cyber attacks and a greater breakdown in security measures on a global scale. With the Internet of Things (IoT) making the world more connected than ever and companies continuing to back-burner security issues, forecasters pointed to a perfect storm. Organizations and individuals would be more vulnerable than ever. They were right.
But from the wreckage of hacks and privacy violations of 2016, some important lessons were learned and they will set the trend for the next wave of technology innovations. Managing Director of the Information Security Forum (ISF) Steve Durbin, a risk management expert, said, “I think we are seeing a raised level awareness about the fact that operating in cyber brings about its own peculiarities…I see an increasing maturity and development of the cyber crime gangs. They’re incredibly sophisticated and well-coordinated. We’re really moving into an area where you can’t predict how a cyber criminal is going to come after you. From an organizational standpoint, how do you defend against that? By preparing for the unknown, organizations will have the flexibility to withstand unexpected, high impact security events.”
Important Cyber Security Trends
Here are a few of the trends that will set the tone for 2017:
Recent technology trends have revealed a shift in consumer mindset. No longer are matters of security and privacy left only in the hands of big-time service providers. In fact, the growing consensus is that they should not be there at all. Laws regarding ownership of information stored on a public cloud in most states are blurry at best, allowing for data mining and other intrusions on personal privacy. And with providers susceptible to hacks and service failures, consumers are starting to realize that the safest hands to put their personal information in are their own.
Private clouds have stepped up to bat. Severin Marcombes, CEO and founder of Lima Technology, said that private cloud storage is one way to address the threat of data dependency. The technology, which has finally become user friendly for consumers, creates a private cloud on which to store personal data. The hard drive is connected to an in-home router and can be safely accessed from any approved device. “Personal cloud technology allows users to access their information anytime, anywhere with complete privacy,” says Marcombes. “Consumers can rest assured knowing that no one is snooping on their information. Privacy is a fundamental right that we all have; personal clouds are a technology that protects that.”
Demand for convenient, safe, private storage has driven innovations in this technology, enabling it to emerge as one of the biggest industry trends of the year. The progression from public to personal cloud storage is a reflection of the direction security technology is moving towards autonomy and personal control.
A major complaint of recent years has been a rise in corporate, for-profit data mining. Consumers store a considerable amount of personal information on the web through online shopping profiles, email accounts and cloud services. Common industry practice is to glean information from that data to create customer profiles, allowing companies to target consumers with more effective marketing ploys. Although some people may not take issue with online advertisements fitting more precisely to their interests, the thought that all these customer profiles exist, created from personal information not expressly shared, is disconcerting to growing numbers of people.
The breakdown in company security measures will only inflame the desire for information privacy on an individual level. And technology is catching up to the need. Network protections and user-disguise technology are on the rise, allowing consumers to limit their cyber fingerprints.
The world wide web is the new frontier, and what a wild west it has become. Think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reported that the global economy spends about $445 billion annually on cyber security costs. In 2017, the cyber security market could grow as much as $120 billion, according to Global Industry Analysts Inc. Linkedin, Chase Bank, Yahoo! and even the IRS reported hacks last year, affecting billions of consumers. That’s right, billions.
Small businesses have been the first to learn from these mistakes, making the most of security technology that protects their private and business networks. Where IoT has allowed businesses to create more efficient work environments, security will allow those environs to be protected. And because of the constantly evolving and somewhat unpredictable nature of cyber crime, the only way to be prepared for the next attack is to be prepared for every attack. Security will not be sitting on the back burner in 2017.
“The public is aware more than ever before of how important their digital lives are,” says Marcombes. “Whether it is private clouds or other applications that protect user identity on the web, you can expect to see a substantial shift towards privacy this year.”
The careless mistakes and naive security practices of the past have created a demand for better solutions, developing already existing technologies into a new, more robust practice of personalized data ownership and protection.
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