Leaping four years forward

2016 is a Leap Year – but why do we call it a ‘Leap Year’? Traditionally, it is known as such due to the fact that Christmas day ‘leaps’ over the day it would have typically fallen. So instead of being on a Saturday this year, Christmas has ‘leapt’ over to Sunday.

Do you remember what you were doing on the last 29 February, four years ago? Were you using the same technology you are now? Were you and your business facing the same challenges you are now in terms of connectivity and security, or have new ones arisen? We have gathered insight from industry experts on what they were doing in the cybersecurity space on the last February 29 and how this has changed in the last four years…

Michael Hack, SVP of EMEA Operations, Ipswitch:

"It’s safe to say the biggest difference for Managed File Transfer between this Leap Year and the last is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the new, unified EU data privacy law. The timing is also of significance here as the proposal for GDPR was first released in 2012.

"Now, for the first time in 20 years, we have data protection laws that are in line with the way businesses handle data in a secure and consistent way across all of Europe. Businesses are gearing up to the change in regulation and have until 2018 to become compliant, so, come the next Leap Year, we will have put an end to the current patchwork of data protection rules."

Perry Correll, Principal Technologist, Xirrus:

"Over the last four years, our daily lives have been redefined by smart technology and connected devices. Smartphones, tablets and wearables are now a part of our everyday routines, and this combined with the growing phenomenon of the Internet of Things (IoT) is putting increasing pressure on Wi-Fi networks. 2012 saw the removal of Ethernet port from many high-range laptops, which increased the amount traffic on wireless networks. This has only continued to grow.

“Since 2012, the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard has been ratified. Wave 2 is the latest standard to emerge, expected to become the new normal for client devices and Wi-Fi infrastructure. Wave 2 is a significant milestone for wireless technology as it replicates Ethernet wire switch functionality, therefore allowing Wi-Fi to become the default connection for all devices within the IoT.

“Arguably the most significant developments for networks in the past four years have been new standards, higher density and more traffic per device."

Richard Beck, Head of Cyber Security, QA:

“The global security talent shortage is by far one of the biggest challenges we face today, relative to four years ago. Concerns about cyber security continue to grow, but companies are increasingly playing catch up in their attempt to counter ever more sophisticated criminals.

“A survey of UK cyber security employers last year by the SANS Institute found that 90 per cent had experienced difficulties filling positions. In contrast, QA’s own research found that 70 per cent of those interviewed said they planned to hire cyber security skilled professionals in 2016. But, where will these skilled professionals come from? Everyone is struggling to fill cyber security posts on their team and one organisation’s gain will become another organisation’s loss.

“It’s a big problem to fix. QA research also reveals that 40 per cent of organisations surveyed said they didn’t feel confident they had the right balance of cyber skills in their organisation to protect it from threats in 2016. There is no quick fix. It will be a four to eight year cycle to close the gap, according to Cisco.

“It’s not all doom and gloom though. The good news is that there is a growing acknowledgement that by training and cross-skilling existing specialist staff, companies can begin to address the skills gap. As an industry, let’s aim to ensure the cyber skills gap is well and truly closed well ahead of 2020, the next Leap year.”

Luke Brown, VP and GM of EMEA, India and Latam, Digital Guardian:

“In 2012 backdoor exploitation had emerged as the hot new threat on the block. In response to the growing cyber threat, companies upped their total spend on network security. According to a recent study on data security, network security spend increased to 43 per cent in 2012, with more than a fifth (21 per cent) of budgets going to database security, 13 per cent to endpoint security/anti-virus, 8 per cent to identity management – but just 1 per cent was dedicated to data protection.

“Today, organisations still only allocate that same 1 per cent of their network security budget on data protection. After four years of substantial data breaches, organisations need to turn their current cyber security strategy around.

"Until corporations evolve their security methodologies by focusing on data protection technologies, rather than network security and traditional anti-virus, data will continue to be at risk.”

Perry Correll, Principal Technologist at Xirrus

Image source: Shutterstock/Kapo