Future of Information Security

Image Credit: Markus Spiske

In the last 30-40 years, Information security has come a long way. The future of information security will more focused around managing risk and less centered on the technologies. In a world were available resources are finite, having a methodology to identify and address real world issues is important. When it is understood the likelihood of various threats, and their impact levels, informed decisions can be made on the best way to address those threats. The assessed risk values helps to provide an unbiased way to choose if acceptance, avoidance, transference, or mitigation is the best option. Resources can be best utilized on mitigating risks that are within economic or resource abilities, and consider transference or avoidance for others.

As technology continues to evolve, so will the types of threats and the sophistication of those threats. The exposure to these various threats can be based on environmental, geographical location, human factors, and even the industry. These all in some form can impact the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the data an organization produces, or is entrusted to protect. Risk management aids in prioritizing and the allocation of resources to effectively address those threats. The costs associated with testing, implementation, deployment, and maintenance of technological security solutions can be high. Educated and well-trained staff is necessary to manage these systems, and in a competitive environment, the costs associated with retaining the best and brightest minds can be huge.

There is currently a huge push to move information systems to the cloud as a method to increase availability, reduce costs, and reduce certain types of risks. These solutions allow organizations to employ more resources toward revenue generating, and less toward infrastructure and support. Many of the cloud providers offer agile solutions that can increase the efficiency of how organizations operate and interact with their data. Cloud computing has many great benefits, and will become the standard for many small to medium businesses, but these benefits come with a trade-off.

These large cloud providers host services for thousands of organizations from various countries. Their risk management strategy is likely geared more toward the mitigation of threats that will impact the availability of their systems and to a lesser degree the integrity or confidentiality of the data that reside on those systems. Cloud providers employ the staff to address equipment security, maintenance, heating, cooling, and electricity. While these teams have the ability to address the confidentiality and integrity between systems, they generally do not address the configuration of these tools that can cause data leaks or breaches. The configuration of the of the resource hosted in the cloud is left to the organization that is subscribing to the service.

More businesses are looking toward automation to address many of the issues in cybersecurity. With the increase in threats, and the limited candidates with the skills necessary to fill many of the important cybersecurity requisitions, new tools are employed to meet these demands. Many of these tools can help decrease the time from detection to remediation, and reduce the errors induced through human interaction. As the technology behind artificial intelligence (AI) advances, it will likely be called upon more to solve and possibly predict threats before they cause damage. It is no longer a figment in Science Fiction books or movies, and is rapidly morphing into what we dreamed it would be many years ago. AI opens up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to security, or even the implementation of tools to address the more complex conundrums modern businesses are faced with.

While AI may be the future of cybersecurity, it will not be the “silver bullet” that everyone hopes it will be. The Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of McAfee, Steve Grobman, reported in an article that human interaction is still necessary to combat cyber criminals. AI is best implemented in a way were humans review the analysis results from AI to strategically spot cyber criminals. Unlike computers, humans have the unique ability to change their behaviors to penetrate security defenses. Only another human with good data can detect, protect, and even employ effective offensive attacks.

Since organizations will still need to staff competent professionals to setup and maintain cloud solutions, or even AI solutions, the number of people they employ could be less. These teams will likely be less specialized in a specific technology, but more knowledgeable in the implementation and integration of a wider variety of solutions. The only business models likely to employ specialized skills like network engineers, system architects, etc. would likely be the providers of these solutions.


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