Change is happening faster and faster around us. So how do we manage it and stay ahead of it? How do we ensure we are leading change and not being disrupted by it to create the future we want? One of the key ingredients for any successful business is understanding the trends that are shaping the world around us and that are pointing to what the opportunities of the future might be. The corporate graveyard is littered with companies who weren’t monitoring trends and went out of business because they didn’t react fast enough to the changing world around them. But if you can catch these shifts early and figure out how to capitalize on them, that is where growth and opportunity lie.
In this new series, I’m helping you see through the lens of a futurist by exploring some of the exciting technologies and trends bound to shape our future lives.
Ready to think like a futurist? Let’s explore cybersecurity.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting connected technologies against unauthorized digital access. It applies to everything from devices to digital networks to critical data. As our digital lives grow, so does the importance of cybersecurity. With the number of cyberattacks occurring at alarming rates, the cybersecurity industry must continue to adapt and improve to keep up with cyber threats.
There are several different facets of cybersecurity, including:
- Endpoint security: Securing endpoint devices such as laptops, printers, and point-of-sale devices
- Data security: Protecting and managing digital information
- Network security: Safeguarding access to secure networks by monitoring access and use
- Application (app) security: Implementing security features within apps to protect users
- Database security: Protecting the data within the database, as well as any associated apps, infrastructure, and physical hardware
- Cloud security: Securing cloud-based tools and data
- Identity management: Technologies and infrastructure that control user access to networks and/or data
- Mobile security: A facet of endpoint security that focuses on protecting mobile devices
- Disaster recovery: The recovery of IT infrastructure following a disaster includes anything from a cyber-attack to a natural disaster
In an ideal situation, these facets work together to create a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity for organizations and individuals, however, it is extremely difficult to do that, which is the source of many problems the industry is facing.
What are the trends?
Our society has become dependent on digital tools and technologies, and the impact of cybersecurity breaches and attacks cannot be overstated.
HP understands the importance of cybersecurity and endlessly works to build safe and secure products. With a deep focus on endpoint security, HP is constantly adapting to stay ahead of cybersecurity trends and risks. In 2019, HP acquired Bromium and now utilizes its technology for essential malware protection. HP also offers HP Wolf Security as powerful endpoint protection that is built-in to its PCs and printers. Starting at the hardware level and extending across software, HP Wolf Security is a unique and comprehensive cybersecurity offering. As a true prevention-first solution with containment of threats, HP Wolf Security is better than detection alone.
When cybersecurity fails or is ill-equipped, several aspects of our lives are at risk, from our data and identities to our safety. Governments, organizations, and individuals respond to cybersecurity threats with new approaches and regulations in our increasingly digital world.
These new approaches include zero-trust frameworks and multi-factor authentication, which provide a heightened level of security for users. Zero-trust framework adoption has increased by 27% in the past two years. Zero-trust security works by requiring all users to be authenticated and regularly validated before gaining access to any networks, data, or applications. Multi-factor authentication is a part of zero trust, requiring multiple verification points before granting access to any user, thus protecting against brute force logins and login theft.
Individuals are now expected to be more responsible for cybersecurity, as well. With hybrid and remote work now commonplace, more responsibility is placed on employees to stay on top of their organization’s cybersecurity requirements. Many organizations now require remote employees to install a VPN (virtual private network) to protect their internet connections. Network segmentation is also becoming popular amongst IT professionals, as it gives administrators more control over who has access to which data. While this increases security, it also adds steps for all employees as they maneuver these new systems.
Governments are enacting new regulations and policies to navigate this new world of cybersecurity and digital risks. In June 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed two new cybersecurity bills into law. The State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021 is meant to improve coordination amongst different departments and governments, allowing for more accessible tools and information sharing. The Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021 focuses on skill-building for federal employees, allowing role rotations amongst those in cybersecurity-related fields to enable a more comprehensive learning experience. The U.S. is not alone in its cybersecurity laws. The UK and EU are also considering new legislation addressing the growing cyber protection demand.
Where is the opportunity?
There was a 125% increase in cyberattacks in 2021, a percentage expected to grow in the coming years. Not only were there more attacks, but they were also more complex, with many having the ability to evade existing endpoint protection tools. To maintain cybersecurity in the future, there must be continuous improvement and adaptation in security tools and frameworks and increased skill development for cyber professionals and leadership.
As explored above, more organizations must adopt a zero-trust framework. While this framework is not a perfect solution, it is still a powerful strategy against cyber risk. Zero trust inherently focuses on prevention rather than reacting to threats, which is essential for organizations dealing with constant cyber-attack attempts.
Another area of opportunity for cybersecurity is blockchain technology. From secure transactions to identity management, blockchain has the potential to be a powerful cybersecurity solution. Due to its transparency and interoperability, blockchain could make it easier to verify data, identify fraud, and create innovative cybersecurity solutions.
The downside to blockchain, however, is its immaturity as a technology. As it is a somewhat recent innovation, it is likely to have unknown vulnerabilities that leave it open for risk. This issue applies to all emerging technologies, such as AI and quantum computing, because cyber threats tend to evolve alongside technological advancements, creating an ongoing feedback loop. Due to this, assumptions about cybersecurity practices will need to be constantly challenged as nascent technologies grow.
Finally, there is an incredible demand for cybersecurity talent, with over 700,000 roles needing to be filled. Because cybersecurity positions often require specific credentials and certifications, there aren’t enough qualified job seekers to fill those roles. Some companies are addressing this issue by removing some requirements, and others are creating talent pipelines and programs specifically for cybersecurity professionals. There is also a lack of cybersecurity talent in leadership, with 45% of companies lacking a Chief Information Security Officer. This lack of cyber skills opens an opportunity for company programs and online courses that could help build a qualified and effective cybersecurity workforce.
Data rules our digital lives, and protecting that information from bad actors is essential. As emerging technologies bring us deeper into the digital world, cybersecurity tools, approaches, and skills will become critical for everyone. Cybersecurity professionals may be the only people honing their abilities now, but these skills could soon become necessary for anyone accessing the internet.
Now it’s your turn. Do you think cybersecurity will be able to keep up with future threats? Should we all be taking cybersecurity courses? Sound off in the comments.