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Cowboys, Insider threats and skills shortages: 2016 cyber security predictions

UK-based cyber security company Assuria predicts that 2016 will be the year when...

SME’s take cyber security seriously

Mid-sized organisations will face greatly increased levels of cyber threats, especially those which work within the supply chain of large organisations and government. They’ll find themselves having to prove that they won’t be a cyber security weak link in the chain before they can win contracts or renew existing contracts. Governments are starting to recognise this and the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials initiative is raising awareness.

Don’t ask Why?

Organisations will no longer ask ‘why should I do it?’ when discussing cyber security defences and instead begin asking ‘how do I reduce my risk?’, ‘how can I do this when we don’t have the skills?’, ‘when can it be done?’ and ‘how much will it cost us?’.

Skills shortages in cyber security foster ever greater growth in MSS

Skills shortages in cyber security will mean that fewer and fewer organisations will be able to build or manage cyber security defences themselves, or even be able to make effective use of cyber security technologies. Instead they’ll need outside assistance from consultants and Managed Security Services (MSS) providers.

Skills shortages attract the cowboys

As always, huge market demand attracts numerous chancers and cowboys into an industry (as well as great new entrants) and the cyber security managed services industry will be no different, with some new entrants selling overpriced services based on poor technology, poor processes and inexperienced people, creating a false sense of security and false promises. This will have potentially disastrous consequences for customers and credibility issues for the industry.

Insider Threats Abound – lock down your IT

Massive disruption (Uber style) to existing industries and wholesale digitisation will create job losses and potentially significant numbers of disaffected employees capable of compromising IT systems. So, we’re likely to see a renewed focus on ‘locking down’ information systems, by ensuring secure configurations, removing vulnerabilities, strictly controlled use of privileges and by ensuring that critical systems and applications are patched up to date.

Record what’s happening inside IT networks and Information Systems

Whether it’s insider threats or external attacks that bother you most, we’re going to see an increased focus on logging and auditing; i.e. using event logs and audit logs to record all system (and where appropriate) user activity in order to create forensic audit trails, allowing automated monitoring and detailed investigations into suspected insider attacks and poor operational procedures.

Risky shortcuts and false economies

But, referring to ‘locking down’ IT systems and creating forensic audit trails, many organisations will continue to take short cuts in these areas because of a lack of resources, ineffective security technologies, cost concerns and incorrect system audit settings and will only find that critical audit data are missing once they try to undertake in-depth investigations.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance will become a necessity when doing business with government and major organisations, and essential cyber security measures will be a pre-requisite to gaining cyber insurance cover.

And finally - just putting it out there…in-cloud cyber attacks?

Could 2016 be the year when we see the first in-cloud cyber security attacks – e.g. criminal gangs or other actors using cloud services to attack other cloud users directly or via cloud providers, with the dynamism of cloud services helping them to do a good job of covering their tracks?

Image source: Shutterstock/Andrea Danti