Tech security trends that need to be on your agenda

Lawrence Jones

Wednesday 21 September 2016

The increasing number of connected devices, cloud services and big data breaches are all causing industry experts to think about security issues. As we gear up for conference season, it’s time to look at the top four tech trends people will be talking about.

The past couple of years have been huge for IT security, with market researcher Gartner stating worldwide IT security spending for 2015 reached $75.4 billion and predicting that the overall security market will grow at a 7.8 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2019.

Big data

Big data might offer huge opportunities, but securing it is still one of the biggest challenges for the industry, claims Sean Davin, cyber and defence director at Sevin Cyber Security. Davin says security experts need to be aware of the continued risks of hacking and attacks. “Quite a lot of the uses of big data are in trying to quickly and thoroughly detect attacks from external threat actors.”

The fact that big data breaches remain a huge concern was highlighted when, in July, Oracle was forced to admit that its MICROS system – the software that powers the organisation’s cash register systems – had been compromised, potentially exposing valuable data to Russian hackers.

Interestingly, big data analysis plays an increasing role in protecting businesses from internal attacks. “Well-gathered big data can be used to determine the internal user’s behaviour, and is becoming much more important, particularly in the cases of insider fraud or accidental or wilful data leakages,” says Davin.

And he doesn’t see the trend ending any time soon: “The EU GDPR regulations place a much greater responsibility on businesses to ensure that they’re treating and handling personal data better than they have done in recent years.”

Move to mobile

In early August, news broke that an incredible 900 million Android smartphones are suffering from vulnerabilities that could potentially allow hackers root access where they could take whatever they want.

Ian Spencer, managing director of SEO and web specialists IS Digital Marketing, has noticed a worrying trend of organisations ignoring BYOD and mobile security. “Businesses of all sizes aren’t locking down their systems and training their staff to stay safe online. BYOD is potentially the biggest risk, as you’re trusting your staff with devices that haven’t been approved or vetted by corporate IT teams.”

Pointing to recently discovered vulnerabilities in Pokémon Go, Spencer urges businesses to be wary of the risks of BYOD, and to introduce policies and controls to protect the individual and the business.

Safe staff

In the tech world, humans are still the weakest link in the chain, believes Jamie Graves, CEO of ZoneFox. “IT skills training is still a massive issue. With a lack of qualified practitioners in the field, all of the other issues [the industry faces] are not going to fix themselves.”

Graves highlights a real issue, with a recent study in Information Management claiming that the majority of businesses have no identified IT security staff, and those that do don’t always have well-trained specialists, but often add IT security responsibilities to an existing role.

Hacks and attacks

Malicious attacks and hacks are always a concern, so what specifically should we be worried about? “Ransomware is set to become nastier and more prevalent,” says Graves – a recent study claims that up to 40 per cent of businesses have been affected. The potential loss of data is a massive concern, and Graves says organisations should “back-up so you don’t have to pay up”.

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