What security threats business leaders need to know about this year

From malware ransoms to data breaches, security experts are facing new and emerging concerns that evolve with technology


Solution: Keep endpoint security up to date. Deploy web and email security that protects against malware, both on and off premises. And most importantly, keep regular backups through a means that is not constantly connected.

3. More organizations will move towards cloud-based services

 With mobile computers, tablets, smartphones and now wearable technology, users are becoming more mobile than ever. This means that the walls that have been erected around our digital networks are being circumvented by the simple act of a user going down the block to grab a cup of coffee. The beautiful internal data warehouse we have built on our networks is now being questioned because an executive can’t run reports from his vacation home on the Florida coast.

The walls to our digital networks are crumbling. No longer are we in an era when the users are inside the walls, and the bad guys are outside the walls. This is driving more organizations to the cloud. A CRM system that is accessible anywhere is much better for the end-user. It allows for productivity anywhere that a connection can be established. A web security system that only protects users when they are on the network has become an antiquated approach that only covers a shrinking number of users. Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) at the gateway is the same. While some organizations have ignored this growing trend and continue to stick to the old ways of building walls, more organizations will start moving to the cloud.

According to a recent piece in Forbes, more than two thirds of organizations will increase spending in the cloud for 2014. Users that are on or off premises will be protected by cloud security services.

Solution: Malware and DLP scanning will move from the network edge to the cloud. Other security services will also certainly make their way to the cloud in 2014, and beyond.

4. As smart devices increase, so will the potential for compromise

Google Glass, Pebble, Kreyos and other wearable technologies began to make a splash in 2013 and will come into general public use in 2014. A new smartphone seems to come out on a weekly basis. There are now smart refrigerators, smart TVs, smart houses, smart pet dishes, and even smart toilets. With all of this interoperability, there is going to be an increase in compromised devices.

Let’s face it, the average user is not ready to set up a 4096-bit encrypted connection between devices, much less managing the keys required to connect the device to yet another new smartphone. So the connections made are simple. We have already seen an uptake in the compromise of home camera systems, like those used in baby monitors.  

This may seem troubling when we are talking about a single breach of a home user. But let’s take it to the enterprise; let’s take it directly to the boardroom. If wearable technologies, such as Google Glass or smart watches are compromised, they could easily become a remote listening device and a remote viewing device. That innocent watch on the wrist of the Chief Marketing Officer could leak the corporate strategy for the entire year. How about that SmartTV that just got installed in the conference room? It could be spying on you as well.

Solution: This concern will only grow with the increased adoption of smart devices. As a result, enterprises will be forced to develop new strategies to address these smart connections. One option may be to implement basic encryption systems for corporate users who adopt wearable devices in the workplace. This latest ripple could also require new HR policies, in addition to an added layer of security. 

5. Organizations that stubbornly refuse to upgrade legacy Windows XP machines are in for a very long year

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP and Office 2003. Microsoft has been more than generous in the amount of time offered. What this end of support means is that Microsoft will no longer be offering security patches for Windows XP. So if vulnerabilities exist, they will continue to exist in perpetuity.