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IT is an ever-evolving sector with systems, programmes and devices becoming more streamlined, sophisticated, and intelligent by the day. With advances in all types of technology - from the software we use to the latest smart devices we aspire to own – it is natural that the threat to IT security is also continually evolving, with hackers and cyber criminals taking advantage of the same breakthroughs in technology consumers are enjoying. So what are the threats to businesses now? And, looking to the future, what dangers do we face in the years to come?
As organisations seek to open their environments to customers, suppliers, and peer groups to enjoy greater collaboration, the boundaries that used to surround their IT systems have been eroded. This shift has seen companies having to move their internal systems out of the confines of their offices and onto the internet and public domain.
This, combined with communications between more than one type of server as applications connect with multiple systems, leaves firms vulnerable and open to attack as hackers look for gaps in wider systems.
Manufacturers' desire to have everything coming off their production line network ready – already accessible and controllable over the internet – means there are even more devices connected to a system, opening up further vulnerabilities for criminals to exploit. The race to get new products onto the market means manufacturers are also paying less attention to protecting devices to ensure they cannot be compromised, which ultimately affects the user.
This evolving sector also presents threats in today's climate. Big Data relates to huge collections of information – including web log data and tweets - that can be mined by firms to help improve their business. But as the name suggests, with bigger data comes bigger prizes for cyber criminals.
It used to be a challenge to host and access Big Data as it cost so much, but hardware prices have dropped and software has become available to analyse it easily. This easier analysis means even more information can be stored. And while the value of the data remains level for a company, it goes up for a hacker - with even more information to play with they can hold a greater volume of data to ransom.
Similarly, with advances in computer technology, information can now be encrypted much quicker – which can play into the hands of the hackers. Criminals using ransomware can swiftly encrypt large amounts of data, often before a company even realises it's under attack.
Technology is improving at a great pace so there is no doubt the systems and devices we use in the future will be more reliable, more capable, and faster. The potential threats relate to how it is applied.
The emerging market of driverless cars, which are also able to park themselves and be controlled remotely, gives us an indication of the automation we can expect in our day to day lives in the future. As the consumer market grows for such technology it would not take long to cross over to the business world, and when this happens the possibilities for cyber criminals will increase.
With steps being made in Artificial Intelligence (AI) the potential threats from the very machines we use to support us should also be considered. Software that is capable of learning and not making the wrong decision more than once already exists, and it will not be too long before systems can make judgements, assessments, and predictions at a much faster pace.
Once machines can think for themselves the possible threats to individuals, businesses, and even countries, becomes a real and greater concern.
Our experts at PAV i.t. have been delivering IT services and solutions to businesses for nearly 30 years. Find out how we can help you protect your business from the ever evolving threats from cyber crime. For more information about our services call 01273 834 000.
Author: Jason Fry, Managing Director at PAV i.t. services