We’ve watched the increasing rise of cybersecurity over the past few years. In fact, since 2016 we’ve seen a rise in incidents that involved employee negligence – by as much as 26%. This may leave you wondering, “What’s next?” With this in mind, here’s a look forward, to what we should expect in the future.
Improved Security Awareness
Data Floq says many of us believe we need a complex computer solution to protect our businesses from hackers. However, a 2015 study that analyzed 500+ data breaches shows that many of these breaches are explainable by PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair). In other words, about 29% of data breaches are traced back to careless employee behavior. It’s up to you to make sure that your employees know they’re creating these data risks and how they’re doing so. The best way of doing this is by holding regularly scheduled training sessions. While there are many topics you could cover during these training sessions, at the very least you should discuss passwords (how they require a combination of letters and symbols and should be changed every 4 – 8 weeks) and phishing attacks.
Encrypting Customer Data
Today it’s almost commonplace for major retailers to be hacked. Typically, these data breaches involve sensitive information (e.g. customer credit card details). An example of this is what happened to Forever 21 because they didn’t enable encryption on their POS terminals. Encryption is simply the process of converting data into ciphertext (encrypted text). For instance, your customers’ credit card information will become unreadable.
As a business owner, you can’t fail to use your website’s SSL authentication. This will encrypt any data that flows between you and your customers. An even better idea is to not store any of their information at all, especially not their credit card information. Instead, hire a third-party payment provider (e.g. PayPal) to manage this part of your business for you.
Sometimes even the “best-laid plans of mice and men” go awry. For instance, your business may have just invested in the most up-to-date security software so that encryption is no longer an issue. You may have also made sure that your employees are fully trained to avoid data risks. So, now you think that you’re fully protected when suddenly your business falls victim to being hacked and having its data compromised. Unfortunately, this is because only the most glaring issues were addressed. This means that hackers were still able to circumvent your basic security measures and find less obvious security holes. Herein lies the reason why you need penetration testing (a.k.a. ethical hacking) when you conduct a security audit. It will identify your system’s weaknesses so you can implement solutions to create a more resilient system.
Protecting Your Traveling Target
British Telecom says that more than 40% of the respondents in their recent study have suffered from a device security breach last year. This is probably because about 34% of businesses don’t have a mobile security policy in place today. Nevertheless, a growing number of businesses are embracing both BYOD (bring your own device) and COPE (Corporately Owned Personally-Enabled) which makes data leaks more prevalent. If your business chooses to do so, you must create a concrete policy first which should include:
- Information about what you expect from your employees so you’re better equipped to deal with any potential risks.
- Necessary precautions your company will take to protect devices – including implementing a hybrid cloud where sensitive data is stored and from where it can also be accessed.
- What will happen when a device is lost so your data remains safe (e.g. revoking privileges to the cloud).
- Ensuring that encryption is in place and that business data and applications are kept separate.
Secure Big Data
Security Intelligence says it should come as no surprise that will the rapidly growing number of devices we’re all using today there are massive amounts of structured and unstructured information being created. Social networks are also helping aide in this rapid growth. While this is great for your business since marketers can use this information in your advertising, it’s also bad for your business because cybercriminals can get ahold of this information.
Today’s security professionals can use big data to help them ward off cybercriminals’ threats. Unfortunately, this leaves behind it a digital trail though. This is where security analysts must be highly proactive in using the data to predict attacks and identify cybercriminals before an attack even occurs. To do this they must spend huge amounts of time analyzing millions of unstructured records. Fortunately, cognitive security and machine learning help them process these records more efficiently and accurately.
This is just one of the many ways that your business will need to change by becoming more reliant on the same types of technology that could potentially threaten its well-being. At the same time, it also showcases the importance that humans play in taking care not to publish any sensitive information on social media.
Secure Your Company’s Internet of Things (IoT)
There are many gadgets involved in the IoT today (e.g. cars, refrigerators, thermostats, home automation, medical equipment) that security professionals aren’t quite prepared to handle. While they know how to protect your business’ server and mobile devices, these gadgets are still new to them so cybercriminals are routinely hijacking them. Once they’ve done so they use them to form botnets that commit large distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against high-profile websites. This is why it’s so important for businesses and their customers to work together to properly secure their devices. Of course, device manufacturers must also be committed to building products that have more effective security controls. These are things every business should continually test too.
Shaping the Future of Cyber Security
With the increased risk of cyber attacks occurring in the future, it’s important to employ network security intelligence to help curb hackers’ nefarious deeds. This is any activity (both hardware and software) that will protect your network and data’s integrity and usability. In doing so you can target various threats and stop them from either entering or spreading throughout your network.