More attacks, new technologies: Cybersecurity predictions for the year ahead

cybersecurity predictions 2017Every day, the cybersecurity landscape changes. Each new device connected to the network presents a new target for attackers that needs to be secured, and each new social media post creates new risks for phishing attacks or social engineering.

As a result, the industry is evolving to meet these changes. Over the past few years, cybersecurity fell into the spotlight, capturing the attention of business leaders and media alike. New startups formed to handle niche security solutions and drive innovation, and businesses have begun to include cybersecurity in every boardroom agenda.

But, today, we’re seeing a shift that will drive us through 2017. Cyberattacks are so prevalent and attacks are evolving so quickly, that they have fast outgrown the defenses that many organizations recently put in place.

For the year ahead, innovations like software-based virtual security functions, and advanced analytics have become not only the latest security trends, but also the latest essentials to help protect an organization. Having the ability to scale and update security defenses in real time, and automate threat detection have become essential to handle the sheer volume of cyberattacks.

As a result, I believe that the market will continue to shift in the following ways in 2017:

Security is being externalized: Small and mid-sized companies do not have the resources to run and constantly update their full-time security operations centers, or staff full teams for cybersecurity. As a result, they will continue to turn to third parties and consultants for their security protections to keep defenses updated in a more economical way.

More connections, more data: As businesses continue to adopt connected devices, the amount and kinds of data needing protection will increase. This means businesses will need to be strategic in their security approaches to handle the scale and scope of the information on their IoT devices.

Cybersecurity jobs booming: Cybersecurity education programs will continue to grow, and jobs in cybersecurity defense for organizations will experience massive growth. This will continue to be a 0% unemployment area, despite the increase in professionals in this field.

Amidst these adjustments in the business space, we can also expect some changes in cybersecurity that will affect ALL individuals, consumers, and organizations:

  • IoT security will remain the top concern for security in the upcoming year. We’ll continue to see attackers looking for vulnerabilities in devices across different verticals. Items like network-connected wearables, or smart coffee pots will become of increasing interest to hackers due to the often limited attention paid to security in their development cycles.
  • New authentication technologies such as biometric scanning, facial recognition “selfie” scanning, or authentication using one’s device will begin replacing passwords for access to digital content and physical buildings.
  • Attacks on critical infrastructure may become more prevalent. Attackers will look to affect power, water, and other utilities, either to make a certain statement, or for financial gain.
  • There will be a call for more government support on cybersecurity. In particular policymakers will be focused on how to better secure federal IT systems, enhance the deployment of more cyber resilient technologies and the role of a U.S. deterrence policy and active defense. There also will be a call for the continued development of industry standards and guidelines and possibly certification programs for IoT devices as it is fast become the latest battleground.

Security has come a long way in 2016, and it will continue to evolve in 2017. At AT&T we’re making advancements to evolve our solutions and technologies to meet cyberattacks head on and help equip today’s businesses to do so as well.