7 Information Security Trends – Stay Aware and Secure6 min read
Data. Organizations and businesses today largely rely on data in their day to day operations. It consists of customer information, marketing materials, financial details, product information, and innovations specifics. Today’s companies’ value is measured by the size of their database.
Protecting this data is very important to an organization’s success, as you can greatly improve your focus on productivity as a business. Failure to protect this data can be very damaging to an organization as it may affect investors’ goodwill. Intruders may target an organization to steal trade secrets for a competitor.
A data breach is a major hit for any company, big or small, especially to its brand image and reputation. Data breaches are a challenge for many organizations today, yet most of them fail to take appropriate measures that will ensure their data security. Protecting information in an organization involves top management prioritizing security policy and making resources available for its implementation.
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Recent high profile information security trends serve as an example of how devastating the attacks can be. High profile attacks that dominate the cyber world made organizations realize how important information security is to their operations.
Massive data breaches have happened in the recent past and confidential data theft seems to be a constant. Organizational and personal privacy, security, and trust are at risk. According to PWC’s 2018 Global State of Information Security Survey (GSISS) report, many organizations globally are not doing all they can to protect this privacy and information.
CIOs are aware of threats, but have problems implementing the measures
Information security begins with the top management of an organization. These are the individuals who can make decisions and allocate budgets to oversee full implementation of policies. According to a 21st Global CEO survey, CEOs worldwide have identified cyber threats as one of the greatest threats facing businesses. This concern is supported by the world economic forum 2018 Global risks report that ranks data breaches as among the most likely risks in the coming years.
The year 2017 went down in history as one riddled with misfortunes in the digital world. Security breaches made headlines on the mainstream media news. These high-profile cybersecurity incidents impacted millions of users, organizations, and government agencies globally. Most prominent cyber attacks that happened yesteryear were the WannaCry and DiskCoder.C. Many organizations suffered a blow.
What made data on many servers around the world to be stolen was the worm-like capabilities of the attacks. The Equifax data breach affected as many as half of the adult US population. The HBO attack leaked episodes of “game of thrones” series. Yahoo admitted that a 2013 data breach led to data such as personal information, names, date of birth, passwords to email addresses being compromised. Information security breach incidents are becoming more prevalent with the most recent one being the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica incident.
Adoption of cloud computing brings new challenges
Cloud computing adoption has been embraced by many businesses today. It comes along with benefits such as flexibility and improved computing and cost efficiencies. Cloud computing has helped organizations increase productivity. However, with these benefits, there are also information security concerns to be raised with the adoption of cloud services. Security issues include authentication, encryption and decryption, confidentiality, and data protection.
Data in cloud computing is handled by third parties, its security cannot be fully guaranteed. This heightens the security concern as it affects both the user and the party providing cloud computing services. The data stored in cloud computing is vulnerable to data breaches since cloud computing service providers and users have no full control over service delivery in store.
The security risk challenge lies in data access and control. It is vital to continuously monitor your cloud data. Cloud computing challenges can be addressed by users doing basic back-up of valuable organizational data. Users should always make there are saving and recovery procedures that protect data stored in the cloud.
Distributed Denial Of Service Attacks
Distributed denial of service attacks are becoming more common. These attacks are accelerated by the increase in ransomware attacks in the recent past. While the common motivation is money, DDOS attacks have been complicated further by some being politically motivated or state-sponsored.
DDOS attacks have been carried out by the use of bot compromised computer networks. The WannaСry affected organizations and government agencies asking for a ransom in order for the victims to get their encrypted data decrypted back. The guarantee that if you paid the ransom you would recover your data was obviously not viable because these criminals are usually not interested in data recovery after they get what they want.
It is understandable if one chose to pay in the hope that they will recover their data back. However, it is advisable to check with the vendor of your software to see if data recovery is possible without the need to pay the ransom first.
What organizations can do to be safe is protect their data proactively. This can be done by backing up every valuable data in various copies, including non-rewritable storage. Some of the copies of the backup can be kept offline to reduce the chances of being exposed to ransomware and malware.
Hybrid cloud environment is increasingly difficult to manage
Today’s information technology world is highly hybrid. Organizations have embraced the hybrid cloud as part of their infrastructure. This adoption is critical to their longevity as well as their competitiveness. However, several information security concerns make it challenging to manage data security in a hybrid environment.
A hybrid environment includes physical data centers as well as cloud computing platforms. Hybrid cloud environment has been challenged with security concerns like cyber attacks, unauthorized access to confidential information, and misfigured security controls.
The greatest and most significant concern about information security in hybrid cloud involves downtimes, access to corporate data by another cloud tenant, and consistency in the management of the hybrid on-premise environment.
The lack of security experts makes it difficult for most companies to adopt new practices
Information security talent is scarce and hard to find. The lack of information security specialists has hindered most companies to adopt new policies. IT specialists are important in advising the management on how to best cope with arising information security challenges.
This challenge, if addressed, can help management to improve its focus on how to stay productive as a company. This issue can be tackled by investing in education. Colleges and universities need to train and breed the next generation of IT specialists.
Training opportunities to help the growth of upcoming tech talents should be provided to young professionals as well. Security experts can also be outsourced. This can effectively widen the talent pool. Although it might take time due to visas processing and finding the talent to invest in, it is worth the effort.
Artificial Intelligence attacks
AI attacks can be performed by cybercriminals to know who to exactly launch an attack at in the targeted organization. Artificial intelligence also makes it possible for cybercriminals to know the steps to making the attack effective.
Artificial intelligence can also be employed to automate data collection of specified information. Combined with the internet of things, it can track passwords as well as company data using current information on the internet and social media pages. Getting ahold of such crucial info can help the malefactors break the organization’s passwords.
Information security remains vital for organizations. It is an urgent issue in today’s world because it can affect every aspect of our lives. With computer networks having been targeted and still likely to be targeted in the future, it is important to take precautionary measures. This can help you increase productivity of your organization and minimize the loss to be suffered in case of an attack.
This is a contributed article.