What’s next after next-gen security? 3 experts weigh in (Part 1)

05 Oct 2018

The ominous dark web is becoming a playground for hackers to buy and sell technology components and services for malicious cyber activity. According to the experts, the security challenges of today are quickly outpacing the technology designed to combat these threats. In this first post of a two-part blog series, we talk to three leading cybersecurity experts about the evolution of the cybersecurity landscape and whether the notion of ‘next-gen’ security is still relevant. Stay tuned for post two, where we ask the big question, what’s next after next-gen security, and how can partners turn the challenges into opportunities to mitigate risk among their customer base.

1. What have been the most significant changes you’ve seen in the cybersecurity landscape?

Damien: The biggest one in Australia has been the NDB legislation and, from a global perspective, GDPR. Both regulations have turned data security from what was traditionally an IT issue into an important business conversation. From a threat perspective, we’re seeing more countries implement cyber warfare tactics to exert political pressure. We’re also seeing information warfare manipulation, where fake social media accounts are being used to sway public opinion. From a cybercrime perspective, we’re seeing an increase in the commoditisation of criminal packages being sold as a service on the dark web.

Seth: The biggest changes in cybersecurity have been the erosion of the secure perimeter and the dramatic increase in volume and variety of attacks. Companies can no longer rely on only firewall and antivirus to create a secure environment; as they adopt cloud computing and mobile devices, they need to learn how to secure data and applications individually, using newer tools such as DLP or IAM.

As attacks become more prevalent, companies need to take more of a proactive mindset to security, using cybersecurity analytics or penetration testing to detect anomalous behaviour and seek out network vulnerabilities.

Cam: Security use to be just a set of hardware or software products layered on whatever it was being built upon. While it was a specialised area, it was not overly complex because the threat level was lower and the customer solution wasn’t super complex. Today, this threat is very real and is often likely to be driven by financial or information gains, whether it’s for espionage or commercial purposes. Additionally, now everyone is vulnerable, including MSPs. Cybersecurity affects everything, from operating systems and mobile devices to data in transit, end points and everything in between.

2. The threats that next-gen security aims to tackle are happening. With that in mind, does the term ‘next-gen security’ hold any weight anymore?

Damien: ‘Next-gen’ is a buzzword that’s been around for a while, but if you look at the way cybersecurity is evolving, the latest thing is deception technologies. There’s a general divergence in the way businesses are approaching cybersecurity. It’s no longer a technology thing – it’s a business component driven by legislation and regulations. Businesses are viewing security through the lens of risk management, hence the term ‘next-gen’ is no longer relevant. Cybersecurity is a journey towards improvement, both from a capability and maturity perspective.

Seth: Some companies use ‘next-gen’ to describe the technical aspects of security. For example, using a more advanced firewall or using additional tools such as DLP, IAM or SIEM might be described as next-gen, and many of these techniques have already been adopted. However, next-gen security could also be described as an approach blending technology with processes and education. Processes such as formal risk analysis or compliance management help ensure secure operations beyond what security technology can protect, and workforce education helps address the leading cause of security breaches: human error. This three-pronged approach to security is less common, sometimes seen at very large enterprises but not often in the small business space.

Cam: Next-gen security will always be a moving target; and we’ll always redefine it to meet the next challenge.

What’s most important is that businesses tackle cybersecurity with a holistic approach that covers the entire IT footprint, and that includes hybrid cloud.

Enabling security, today and Five Years Out

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