It seems like every day there is a new media report about a malicious cyber-attack or a new super hacker group. Whether it’s reports of Yahoo users’ accounts being compromised (again!) or another business paying ransomware demands, many IT security professionals are left feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. (Source: Yahoo). With more and more vulnerabilities and ‘fronts to watch,’ organizations are seeking added protection from managed security experts. Analysts predict that in the months and years ahead, more enterprises will select security software-as-a-service (SaaS) to bolster cyber protection efforts. By the end of 2015, 15 percent of all security was delivered via SaaS or on a hosted platform; by 2018 over 33 percent will be (Source: Cyber Security Ventures).

The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices in the workplace, increased connectedness of devices (i.e. Internet of Things (IoT)) and the sophisticated nature of network intrusions, are just some of the security threats organizations need to watch out for. Let’s explore four main security threats every business should be aware of in the year ahead.

  • More connected machines mean viruses spread faster than ever- Gartner released a report showing the growth of IoT devices to reach 25 billion in the next five years.  (Source: Gartner). What’s the big deal with the free flow of data between devices, you might ask? Well apparently, this is a huge concern for security experts because when devices are all connected, malicious code like viruses and botnets can spread from device to device, more quickly than ever before. Not only that, manufacturers could be at the greatest risk as Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) era heats up. Security weak spots will continue to be exploited as producers support data exchange by linking products with supply chains, partners, customers, and workers.
  • BYOD has changed the corporate security landscape forever- Living in the world of IoT is compounded even more by the fact that the lines between consumer and corporate information have been blurred. BYOD and the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace have permanently altered the way corporate security is managed. Mobile devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones are used by employees daily to access corporate information. Traditional defensive perimeter solutions, like firewalls, intrusion prevention, and endpoint security products, can no longer keep pace. That’s because perimeter defenses are designed to look for malicious traffic coming into the organization from the outside, rather than assuming malware is already inside, brought in by BYODs.
  • Proliferation of container applications- Container technology is a concept where software and applications are developed to run reliably and consistently in every computing environment. This is done by ‘containing’ an application’s entire runtime environment into one package. This includes from development, a testing environment, staging, to production and then to a data center or to a virtual machine. The problem arises because like VMs, these containers can run multiple instances of an application. Thus, if there’s a cyber attack, several instances can be infected and infiltrated at once. The other factor is the relative newness of container technology. While container frameworks offer many benefits, the software applications may be more heavily targeted to cyber attacks, compared to network intrusions or virtual machines.

While perimeter-security applications may have been the best defense against traditional network-based cyber attacks, today’s corporate IT landscape has evolved so dramatically, it’s clear that new strategies are needed. Security services delivered through the cloud and managed by a provider may be part of the missing piece needed to fortify enterprise security.

Wrap up

Companies of all sizes and verticals are benefiting from unified communication platforms that tear down the barriers and complexity of once ‘siloed’ corporate communication tools. By taking a more central approach− and linking in business processes−organizations can further enhance customer and partner relationships as well as facilitate anytime, anywhere communications across all channels.

Those that leverage UC effectively are also ultimately supporting worker productivity and enthusiasm. Because let’s face it, good communication is the key to good business. And, when employees have access to world-class tools they are more empowered and engaged. That means they are at their best and delivering the best customer experience possible. That type of positive energy is good for any corporate bottom line.