It’s been a tough year for those battling cybersecurity threats and data breaches. From Target and Home Depot to JP Morgan Chase and Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2014 reminded business executives and consumers that nobody is invincible when it comes to cybercrimes. So, as 2015 approaches, one thing is certain: cybercriminals are becoming more elite, and a defensive approach is going to lose every time.
As the Chief Technology Officer at SRV Network Inc., I’ve witness the ever-evolving technology landscape and believe 2015 will only give hackers more opportunities to infiltrate the networks that house business and consumer data. When you think about the advancements we’ve seen in 2014 alone, you begin to understand how fast our capabilities are expanding. The key to protecting data is to understand the challenges of tomorrow, and to be proactive about addressing them.
Below are predicts five trends that I believe will present challenges to cybersecurity efforts in 2015:
1. Mobile Connectivity: Mobile technology is not new, but the way your mobile device is used to communicate with your vehicle and home is only becoming more prevalent. “When your cell phone can communicate with your home security system or your car engine, the internal security measures that protect the mobile network must increase exponentially,” says Volkman.
2. Virtual Payments: Your wallet is bound to get a little lighter with increased use of consumer payment applications such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay, but Volkman warns that protecting these giant servers could be challenging. “This year we saw Apple’s iCloud become compromised, so they have a lot of work ahead of them to increase consumer confidence and ensure data security.”
3. The Cloud: If you thought everything lived in the cloud this year, you’re wrong. “The mysterious cloud will only continue to grow as organizations transition away from physical documents and move further toward purely cloud-based infrastructures,” warns Volkman.
4. Remote Access: Now more than ever, corporations are cutting costs by allowing employees to work remotely, which brings a whole new set of security challenges. “When you have an employee accessing a server remotely from a personal or unsecured Wi-Fi network, the consequences can be disastrous. It’s almost like inviting a criminal into your office.”
5. Third-Party Outsourcing: Outsourcing business functions such as payroll is a popular way for companies to reduce overhead, but doing so effectively relinquishes control of your employees’ sensitive data. “Before passing along responsibility for data management, consider all your options,” suggests Volkman. “It might be more expensive to keep processing jobs in-house in the short term, but could save a lot of money and headaches in the long run.”
Unfortunately, cybercriminals will continue to evolve their methods as fast as — or faster than — corporations and individuals can respond to threats. The only way to stay ahead of the game is to invest in people. Throwing money at anti-virus and malware software is only going to do so much good. We need to be investing in true thought leaders and cyber-experts that are capable of anticipating the next biggest threats before they materialize. It’s the only way we’ll win the war on cybercrime.
Karl Volkman is the Chief Technology Officer at SRV Network, Inc., a Microsoft Gold Certified partner that offers a variety of IT services. Please visit www.srvnetwork.com for more information.