Technological innovations disrupt the way enterprises operate and interact with customers. Organisations must develop an appropriate pace of digital transformation, but when it comes to cybersecurity, transformation becomes a challenge. Cybercrime, data fraud or theft are currently listed among the most notable risks in the world, along with environmental disasters, geopolitical tensions and societal crises. The number of attacks on businesses has doubled in recent times, yielding a disruptive financial impact. The NotPetya ransomware attack resulted in losses of US$300 million for businesses and the WannaCry attack affected over 300,000 computers in 150 countries. The reason behind this growing digital vulnerability is digitisation; the more digitised and connected an enterprise becomes, the more security threats arise. Obviously, cybersecurity is now a top priority for digital businesses looking to adopt innovations like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). We have looked at these three widely adopted technologies to address how they can affect the state of cybersecurity going forward.
From connected cars to intelligent consumer tools, pretty much any tech can be turned into smart, connected gadget these days, it’s not surprising that enterprises are now actively investing in IoT pilots to gain a competitive edge. All these smart devices are constantly collecting data, connecting to other devices and sharing that data. And this is where the main vulnerability arises; from the presumption that most IoT devices are not secure by design. For enterprises, one of the key challenges will be to know what data is leaving their networks or what information is captured and transmitted secretly. Dozens of software patches, multiple antivirus updates, steady firewall protection, not to mention human resources — this is the bare minimum of modern enterprise cybersecurity. Obviously, automation can be beneficial, and this brings AI to the table; however, some pitfalls that need to be avoided.
Even with the best security strategy in place, after a cyberattack happens, all you can do is try to figure out what went wrong and why. But what if you could get warned about potential danger before a breach occurs? With machine learning that recognises specific patterns and workflows, your security system can foresee potential breaches. While AI gets smarter over time (from analysing your data), you can start to prevent the unthinkable; however, the flipside of the coin is that when mismanaged, such a complex and self-reliant system may bring in potential security vulnerabilities instead of eliminating existing ones. Any unexpected bug, a mistake in a line of code or misunderstood request could cause your AI system to freeze or respond incorrectly. Yes, AI cybersecurity software can certainly help with developing a smarter, more proactive and responsive security approach, but we wouldn’t recommend you rely on a sole AI solution to keep up with cybersecurity. The same can be said about overhyped blockchain technology.
The key security benefit of blockchain is that it allows for the establishment of safe transactions, which is particularly relevant to highly regulated industries like finance or real estate. All data is kept within the system using a distributed ledger. With no central data environment to attack, it remains safe from theft or violation. Presuming the system uses strong encryption, blockchain can solve many of the current security and trust challenges that enterprises face. Blockchain will not fit into an enterprise business ecosystem that requires retaining full control over the network. The adoption of blockchain presumes there is a coordinated community, a peer-to-peer network, where involved parties can run ‘nodes’ containing a copy of the database. So, before introducing blockchain to solve security problems, ask yourself if you are ready to engage third parties and share control of your network? It’s also vital to understand the nuances and the weak points of this popular technology. While enterprise IT continues to change at rocket speed there is no silver bullet for security issues. Artificial intelligence or blockchain are not panaceas; they are tools that can potentially make or break your security when misused. Informed CISOs will recognise the need for well-thought plans and processes to deal with security challenges. If you need expert help to optimise your security investments and keep your data protected around the clock, contact ELEKS today. We understand the digital transformation security challenges that enterprises face and we solve them applying the latest technologies.