“Security is not an Illusion. Security is the Foundation of any World…” – Captain Aag, the wrathful villain in Salman Rushdie’s fantasy novel Luka and the Fire of Life that he penned for his 13-year-old son.i
While it is safe to assume that Captain Aag was by no means referring to cybersecurity, the shoe indeed fits. The many security lapses that have occurred recently—such as Verizon, Anthem, Equifax and Deloitte, to name a few—reiterate the pressing need for organizations to build cybersecurity systems that affirm the safety of critical data.
There are a few promising developments that have the potential to put cybersecurity on a stronger foundation in 2018. Here are four that are worthy of exploring:
■ Blockchain becomes a gamechanger: From a security standpoint, blockchain technology seems poised to be one of the most efficient solutions to enhance security in high-stakes industries such as banking, law, finance and real estate owing to its digitalized and decentralized structure. Blockchain functions as a shared and distributed ledger which maintains all transactions and assets pertaining to a business that can be transparently managed by a number of parties. It makes the assets more resilient to attacks. While the full potential of blockchain is yet to be unlocked, the growing list of industries that are investing in the technology is a clear sign that the adoption rate will increase rapidly in 2018.
■ More focus on insider threats: The norm of focusing on external parties as threats to security is undergoing a gradual shift as instances rise of data breaches by organizations’ own employees and contractors, both inadvertently and maliciously. In 2018, companies will prepare to brace themselves against such occurrences tarnishing their credibility with customers, tangible damages notwithstanding. Tactics include conducting targeted security awareness sessions on safe online habits to educate employees and contractors. Also, companies will focus on sniffing out breaches from miles away and resolving them quickly, regardless of whether they are malicious attacks by an outsider or an insider; the latter often being far more complex to detect and mitigate.
■ Harnessing the power of Deep Learning, AI, and Machine Learning: Behavioral analytics is giving rise to innovations such as Deep Learning that are capable of analyzing a user’s propensity to be a security threat based on the individual’s online behavior. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be used to make up for manual examination of security threats by a large number of analysts, saving precious time and effort. Having said that, the demand for human cybersecurity experts will remain high as organizations will always require specialists.
■ Customizing the approach to security: Organizations are quickly realizing that cybersecurity measures that suit one company may not necessarily suit another. Customized security will gain importance, as the approach takes into account requirements that are unique to the particular organization. Subsequently, the demand for vendors who offer customized security solutions will increase in 2018.
Of course, technology is a double-edged sword. With the rise in security innovations come new approaches by hackers to counter the innovations. The battle against digital crime will continue, but the technologies and approaches implemented in 2018 may start to reduce the exposure to cyber attacks. This reflects a growing recognition by many organizations that a strong cybersecurity stance must be part of the foundation of their world, as Captain Aag suggests.
i Salman Rushdie, “Luka and the Fire of Life” page 122, 2010, Alfred Knopf Canada