As cyber threats continue to dominate the global IT landscape, IT administrators and CTOs alike are in search of ways to protect their businesses from data breaches and other malicious attacks. In addition, there are new data privacy compliance issues to consider, and the lingering threat of the unknown.
While we can’t see the future, some trends in cyber security are already solidifying, giving us a good idea of what’s to come. So, let’s consider the top three cyber security trends for 2018.
• GDPR Deadline: May 25, 2018
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the single biggest IT event perhaps since SOX (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002), or maybe even Y2K. United States businesses that don’t think the GDPR applies to them should think again: the GDPR applies to any business or person who does business with European Union citizens — meaning if you have customers in Europe, you are required to comply.
On the off chance you experience a data breach that affects an EU citizen, your company could be liable to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Of course, that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the potential cost of a data breach. The Equifax breach, for instance, has (so far) cost the company about $4 billion dollars. The trend to watch for is the adoption of GDPR-compliant managed software solutions and potentially having to hire specialists to manage the transition.
• The Internet of Things And Its Vulnerabilities
The internet of things (IoT) is rapidly penetrating into all areas of our life — from our smart appliances at home to retail beacons where we shop. It’s transforming industries like agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and transportation for the better, easing everything in our world toward a future where anything and everything is connected.
There is no law in the U.S. that regulates IoT, and cyber security experts are warning us that we are ripe for a serious breach. Without a good understanding of the vulnerabilities of IoT, you could be leaving yourself open to threats you haven’t even imagined. The fact that IoT networks are generally unmonitored plays into that eventuality.
By gaining access to networks through IoT devices like smart printers, television sets, or even HVAC systems, cybercriminals could target other critical systems in an effort to gain access to data — or to cause widespread disruption by shutting down connected devices on the network.
• AI and Machine Learning
When firewalls, session border controllers, and endless security patches can’t stop cybercrime from happening, artificial intelligence (AI) just might. With the ability to learn and adapt, AI seems like a viable way to turn, especially considering the rate at which new threats are appearing. You could think of AI as an “immune system” for your IT, taking its cue from what’s “normal” and learning how to protect itself from intrusions.
However, while AI has the potential to help us more accurately predict and protect against cyberattacks, there is a very real possibility this can be exploited. And like most new tech, there are good and bad people using it — so there is really nothing stopping cybercriminals from using AI technology to create newer, more insidious threats. It’s a double-edged sword that I suspect we’ll be watching closely over the next few years.
There is plenty to discuss when it comes to cyber security, and just as many opinions about what direction it will ultimately take. The fact remains: we live in a connected world where technology has become a part of the landscape. Until a universal order is established, we must remain vigilant.
Editor’s note: Stephen Carlisle is the CEO of office technology company Business World and the owner of beverage distributor AquaJava, both based in Little Rock. The opinions expressed are those of the author.