In a time where our personal information is often stored within systems and networks, it’s vital that we leverage the most innovative cyber security solutions and practices to safeguard our data. And as business leaders, this sense of digital self-preservation should also extend to our organisation’s information technology (IT) solutions.
We know that technology spending is increasing, and as a result, so is the escalating importance of cyber security. Every day, we witness the proliferation of cyber threats attacking businesses and individuals alike, making cyber security not just an IT problem but a global concern that affects us all.
We are at a crossroads where the decisions we make today will shape the business landscape of tomorrow. Consequently, we need to look ahead and demist the future of cyber security – it will help us better prepare ourselves for a safer digital future.
The cyber threat landscape: an ecosystem of resilient adversaries
If there’s anything business leaders and network security experts can agree on, it is the unfortunate longevity of cyber security threats. Take ransomware as an example. According to research, 48% of IT workers have seen “an increase in ransomware attacks”. And when you consider that another variant of ransomware was discovered as recently as April 2023, it’s obvious that today’s cyber threats are growing more sophisticated and relentless than ever before.
Whether we’re focusing on some new security threat in the bowels of the Dark Web or we’re hearing about the latest data breaches, malicious activities are not only growing in number but also in complexity, making device security an ever-challenging task for businesses and the everyday person.
But there’s a silver lining here that we mustn’t ignore. As security threats have latched on to the technologies society needs to run, so too have cyber security solutions grown alongside them. In 2022, cyber security (as a global market) “was valued at USD 153.65 billion” – a clear indicator that humanity is doing its best to prioritise the wellbeing of operating systems, data, and society at large.
In this regard, I think it’s safe to say that information and device security are extremely important in today’s day and age. But with that being said, we can’t (and should never) relax in the face of future malicious developments. In the business world, we know that a single cyber-attack can cause catastrophic damage.
So, it’s imperative that we take a proactive approach to strengthen our defences and stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape. And we can do this by looking ahead to see what the future holds for cyber security.
A glimpse into the future of cyber security
With IT solutions constantly evolving and revolutionising how businesses and society function, we need to keep our focus on the path ahead and explore the possibilities that may shape the landscape of cyber security in the years to come.
Here are three expectations for the future of cyber security:
1. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will increase their presence
Looking ahead, AI and ML will play a pivotal role in the evolution of the cyber security landscape. Already, ML is making it easier for companies to respond to threats, while AI is powering security products such as Microsoft Security Copilot. With these sentient technologies giving us the ability to revolutionise the way we combat cyber threats, it’s safe to say that the future of digital security will be defined by AI and ML.
However, the integration of AI and ML in cyber security is a double-edged sword. There have been plenty of warnings about the use of tools like ChatGPT making cybercriminals more efficient in their malicious endeavours, presenting a new frontier in the cyber security battleground. We need to continue watching this trend and plan for it accordingly.
2. A rapidly growing cyber threat landscape
As technology continues to advance, so does the cyber threat landscape. Moving forward, we can anticipate an increase in the volume of cyber-attacks as security threats become more accessible to the masses. According to the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre, “Spyware, hackers for hire and access to other cyber capabilities are expected to be in growing demand globally”. This means that we must continually adapt and improve our cyber security solutions to stay one step ahead of the unexpected.
3. A cyber security workforce shortage
For business owners and people that work in the IT industry, the idea that there will be a talent shortage for cyber security is unsettling but, unfortunately, not surprising. In 2022, there was a global “gap of 3.4 million cybersecurity workers”. And if we take into account that Cybersecurity Ventures expects that there will be “3.5 million unfilled [cyber security] positions in 2025”, the shortage of skilled professionals will surely continue to be a pressing issue for the cyber security industry and the world at large.
In the near future, as the demand for data and device security tools and services grows, so too will the need for experts to design, implement, and maintain those solutions. But at the moment, this workforce shortage is a ticking time bomb. Gartner expects that “nearly half of cybersecurity leaders will change jobs by 2025”.
If this prediction were to come to fruition, managing the security of our sensitive information will become more difficult as organisations will find themselves exposed to higher risks without the expertise to mitigate and respond to them effectively.
As business leaders, what can we do to prepare for the future of cyber security?
For cyber security, preparation is the foundation of resilience. Organisations can better prepare themselves to navigate the complex landscape of tomorrow’s cyber threats by investing in/undertaking the following:
- Education and training programs – businesses ought to invest in continuous education and training programs to keep employees updated on the latest cyber threats and prevention techniques.
- Prioritising comprehensive security measures – all companies should implement a multi-layered security approach comprised of various cyber security solutions, including endpoint protection, network monitoring tools, and more.
- Always have a cyber security strategy – create a plan that explains how your company will keep its IT assets safe from cyber threats. That way, you will have peace of mind knowing that your organisation will never operate blind.
- Conduct regular updates and patching – establish a foolproof process to ensure that operating systems, software, and applications are consistently updated with security patches.
- Thorough risk assessments – conduct regular risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities that require remediation.
- Cultivate a culture of awareness within the company – promote a culture of cyber security awareness through ongoing communication and training sessions. The more employees (at all levels) take cyber security seriously, the easier it will be for businesses to innovate their security measures.
- Make the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and strong passwords compulsory – make it mandatory for employees to use strong, unique passwords for each of their accounts and enable MFA whenever possible. At the same time, stress the importance of not reusing passwords.
- Encourage prompt reporting – establish clear reporting channels for suspicious activities or potential security incidents. The more comfortable people feel about speaking up (and the easier it is for them to do so), the safer your company will be.
- Do not neglect disaster recovery – develop and regularly test a disaster recovery plan that outlines comprehensive procedures for data backup, restoration, and system recovery in the event of a cyber-attack or other disruptive incidents.
- Stay on top of any regulations – stay informed about relevant data protection laws and industry-specific compliance requirements that apply to your organisation.
The future of cyber security is fast approaching. By learning how to recognise risks and how to respond to them with proactive measures, we can better protect our IT assets, employees, and customers, paving the way for a more secure digital future.
Cyber security is not a trend. It’s a way of life
We’re living in a time where cyber security incidents dominate headlines. Consequently, investing in data and device security tools is an absolute must, as the risks and consequences of neglecting them are far-reaching and can jeopardise the fabric of an organisation’s existence.
Think about the data that your business contains – information that fuels your operations and helps you deliver value to your customers. There is no reason for it to be exposed. It’s incumbent upon business leaders to embrace a proactive and holistic approach to cyber security – factoring in everything from specific security-focused IT solutions to comprehensive employee training – to create a culture that prioritises vigilance and cyber resilience.
The future of cyber security lies in our hands, and it is our collective responsibility to rise to the challenge. Let us unite our efforts, increase our knowledge of best practices and compliance, and grow into a more secure unit that leaves the cyber threat landscape trembling. Cyber security developments are already being made right now, and as business leaders, we need to embrace the opportunities they present and lead the charge toward a safer and more resilient digital world.
What do you think the future of cyber security holds?