2017 has been an eventful year in terms of cybersecurity, with many data breaches having affected not only SMEs, but also big-name organisations such as Yahoo, Tesco Bank and Debenhams. As cyber-attacks become increasingly sophisticated and well executed, businesses of all sizes must do more to protect their data.
As the new year begins, experts from Syntax IT Support London take a look at some anticipated new trends, challenges and threats likely to impact businesses in 2018.
General Data Protection Regulation
In May 2018, the Data Protection Act (DPA) will be replaced by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is designed to better protect personal data and impose more severe punishments on organisations that fail to comply with new rules on storage and handling. The new framework will be introduced as the UK is in the process of leaving the EU, but it is likely to be converted into British law and homegrown companies must prepare to adhere to new regulations or otherwise face hefty fines. Also check out more info about gdpr here.
Getting proactive about ransomware
After a series of ransomware attacks this year, including the WannaCry virus that left NHS trusts vulnerable, organisations must do more to protect themselves in 2018. After a number of high profile businesses have successfully been targeted by cybercriminals, it has become clear that we are not doing enough to keep data secure and that we should always be prepared for the worst.
Every business should know by now that it is crucial to make regular backups, install patches and updates and strengthen real-time defences. By taking these steps, organisations are far less likely to be impacted by future attacks and can be more confident that data is well-protected.
AI and machine learning to impact cybersecurity
Cybersecurity will continue to develop in coming years to protect us against more sophisticated attacks, with new advancements making use of cutting edge technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. There is still work to be done in the training and honing of models to ensure that they perform optimally, but it is expected that significant progress will be made over the next twelve months.
Once the experts have got it right, machine-learning models will be able to predict and identify attacks with unrivalled accuracy, allowing businesses to prevent security breaches before they arise.
Patching and application testing
2017 has made the importance of patching and application testing absolutely clear, with many data breaches having been made possible by known vulnerabilities and outdated operating systems. Businesses must ensure that all IT systems and applications are updated regularly and that security testing is prioritised.
Handling data breaches
No business leader delights in admitting that they’ve made a mistake, but organisations have a responsibility to handle the aftermath of a data breach in the correct manner. If hackers manage to penetrate your defences, you can reduce the impact of an attack by immediately contacting IT professionals to manage the threat, notifying affected parties and drafting a company response.
Delaying disclosure and failing to deal with the attack in a constructive manner only exacerbates the problem. 2017 has shown us too many examples of how not to handle a data breach and we hope that affected businesses can learn from these mistakes in the future.
As you take your business into the new year and make plans for continued growth, ensure that cybersecurity is a priority. By taking these five trends into account, your business can prepare for challenges to come and dramatically reduce your risk of a data breach, allowing you to focus on achieving greater success.