Information Security Forum identifies top six security threats for 2014

The top six threats identified by the ISF are not mutually exclusive and can combine to create even greater threat profiles


NEW YORK – December 18, 2013 –– The Information Security Forum (ISF), a global, independent information security body considered the world's leading authority on cyber security and information risk management, has announced their forecast of the top six security threats global businesses will face in 2014. Key threats include bring your own (BYO) device trends in the workplace, data privacy in the cloud, brand reputational damage, privacy and regulation, cybercrime and the continued expansion of ubiquitous technology.

“As we move into 2014, attacks will continue to become more innovative and sophisticated. Unfortunately, while organizations are developing new security mechanisms, cybercriminals are cultivating new techniques to circumvent them,” said Steve Durbin, Global Vice President of the ISF. “Businesses of all sizes must prepare for the unknown so they have the flexibility to withstand unexpected, high impact security events.”

The top six threats identified by the ISF are not mutually exclusive and can combine to create even greater threat profiles. They are most certainly not the only threats that will emerge over the course of the next twelve months. The most prevalent threats include:

BYO Trends in the Workplace

As the trend of employees bringing mobile devices in the workplace grows, businesses of all sizes continue to see information security risks being exploited. These risks stem from both internal and external threats including mismanagement of the device itself, external manipulation of software vulnerabilities and the deployment of poorly tested, unreliable business applications. If the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) risks are too high for your organization today, stay abreast of developments. If the risks are acceptable, ensure your BYOD program is in place and well structured. Keep in mind that if implemented poorly, a personal device strategy in the workplace could face accidental disclosures due to loss of boundary between work and personal data and more business information being held in unprotected manner on consumer devices.

Data Privacy in the Cloud

While the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud computing services are clear, organizations cannot afford to delay getting to grips with their information security implications. In moving their sensitive data to the cloud, all organizations must know whether the information they are holding about an individual is Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and therefore needs adequate protection. Different countries’ regulations impose different requirements on whether PII can be transferred across borders. Some have no additional requirements; others have detailed requirements. In order to determine what cross-border transfers that will occur with a particular cloud-based system, an organization needs to work with their cloud provider to determine where the information will be stored and processed.

Reputational Damage

Attackers have become more organized, attacks have become more sophisticated, and all threats are more dangerous, and pose more risks, to an organizations reputation. With the speed and complexity of the threat landscape changing on a daily basis, all too often we’re seeing businesses being left behind, sometimes in the wake of reputational and financial damage. Organizations need to ensure they are fully prepared and engaged to deal with these ever-emerging challenges.

Privacy and Regulation

Most governments have already created, or are in the process of creating, regulations that impose conditions on the safeguard and use of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), with penalties for organizations who fail to sufficiently protect it. As a result, organizations need to treat privacy as both a compliance and business risk issue, in order to reduce regulatory sanctions and commercial impacts such as reputational damage and loss of customers due to privacy breaches. Furthermore, we are seeing increasing plans for regulation around the collection, storage and use of information along with severe penalties for loss of data and breach notification particularly across the European Union.  Expect this to continue and develop further imposing an overhead in regulatory management above and beyond the security function and necessarily including legal, HR and Board level input.

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