The cybersecurity trends organizations will soon be dealing with

In this interview with Help net Security, Brad Jones, VP of Information Security at Seagate Technology, talks about cybersecurity trends organizations will be dealing with soon, particularly concerning cloud misconfiguration, data classification, software vulnerabilities, and the cybersecurity skills gap.

cybersecurity trends

Cybersecurity risks are an ever-evolving issue for all organizations. What are the main ones we are going to be dealing with in the near future?

There will be a spotlight on cloud misconfiguration. It is already gaining ground as a leading source of data breaches with no signs of letting up. In a traditional on-prem data storage environment, only a few security team members controlled a firewall that prevented adversaries from exposing sensitive information and prevented employees from accidentally exposing data.

However, as the world transforms and multicloud storage becomes pervasive, security challenges become much more complex. Companies without guardrails and guidelines in place for access management leave themselves open to risk. They must prioritize compliance across the entire cloud infrastructure. Any errors or gaps in a cloud’s configuration mean that any employee could be one click away from accidentally exposing entire databases. Once the information is public, it is exceedingly difficult to prevent threat actors from using it for nefarious purposes.

Companies need to bake in security from the beginning of their cloud journeys because it’s much more difficult to retrofit the security foundation. If a company doesn’t solve a security problem in the cloud, then they just move bad practices from one cloud to another when they go multicloud. Identity and access management, automating cloud configuration and implementing zero trust can help drive compliance across a multicloud environment.

What changes do you see when it comes to data classification?

Data classification looks very different across categories (PII, healthcare, financial, etc.) since each type of data is regulated differently based on its industry and location. If an organization doesn’t have a unified classification strategy, they open themselves up to threat actors looking to cash in on valuable data as well as major fines from regulators if employees accidentally mishandle data. To avoid this, companies will create ways to foster closer collaboration between their security teams and departments that are handling sensitive data.

Developing a comprehensive data classification system is difficult and security teams can’t go it alone. Data classification requires input and compliance from across an organization. Data privacy and security regulations will continue to become more complex and the financial repercussions for noncompliance will become more serious. As a result, we will see legal departments, security teams, and data owners across other departments work together to classify, manage and protect valuable data.

As software vulnerabilities take center stage, how will and how should software providers respond?

Looking into 2023, software providers should take a transparent and communicative approach to garner more customer trust. Customers are increasingly worried about security. Earlier this year, a federal executive order implemented tighter regulation for software and service providers to be more transparent about potential cyber threats and risks, in addition to actual cyber incidents that they might experience.

Customer concern and federal regulation mean that software and service providers need to be more transparent about what is in their technology stacks that might have security implications down the line. Providers will have to be open about what is in their software bill of materials (SBOM) – if, for example, they use Log4J or Java or other software in their environments. A SBOM is an inventory of the software and components that make up an application.

Knowing these details allows organizations to make more informed decisions when selecting providers, so they can choose to steer clear of software that could lead to security risks. The providers who are more transparent about their technology stacks will be better positioned to face customer and regulatory scrutiny in the event of a cyber threat.

We’ve been hearing about the cybersecurity skills gap for quite some time now. What do you think could be the solution to this problem?

With fewer skilled workers, companies are stretching out their available staff to cover multiple areas. However, a firewall expert can’t become a cloud security expert overnight and a single IT expert can’t know the ins and outs of every cloud environment. To help solve the talent shortage, companies will increasingly turn to automated security tools, which lighten the workload of employees and offer cost efficiencies. However, managing these tools still requires specialized skills.

Automation addresses the current security skills gap, but it will create another one down the line as companies will need more and more employees with automation expertise. The long-term solution to bridging the skills gap is strategically adopting new technology and upskilling IT staff. For example, by training security talent to manage automated, cloud-agnostic security tools, companies can better manage security across a multicloud environment.

Are there any other cybersecurity trends organizations should be aware of?

Security regulations are driving a trend toward data localization that IT leaders need to prepare for now. There are two main factors at play when it comes to data localization: the proliferation of edge devices and rapidly changing government regulations that dictate how companies store and use their data. Since companies are storing more information at the edge, they have more localized storage and security needs.

Because more data is localized, more companies need to comply with regional data privacy regulations such as GDPR and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). Regional regulations make it difficult for companies to fulfill their data storage needs with a single cloud, which will necessitate more multicloud adoption. More companies will need different clouds in different regions to fulfill different purposes. As they embark on the path to multicloud, companies will need a clear security foundation to avoid cloud misconfiguration that puts many organizations at risk.

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