By Martin Lipka, Head of Connectivity Architecture, Pulsant
For the longest time the sci-fi future in pop culture was characterised by flying cars and space travel. While space travel still features quite strongly, AI, code, data and cyber terrorism have taken centre stage. And it is little wonder. We’re constantly reminded of the severity of the cyber security threat, not just in the media with the reporting of high profile breaches, but in the ways our IT teams and boards are tackling the issue.
When it comes to AI, in my opinion, we’re about 10 years away from creating a machine with the same level of computational intelligence as a human brain. In the shorter term, we’re already using AI and machine learning throughout business today to streamline operations, improve efficiencies and support innovation.
We’re also using it in the fight against cybercrime. However, it’s a double-edged sword. Cyber criminals are embracing AI too and advances in this technology will transform the threat landscape in ways we can’t even imagine. These advances will only serve to make attackers more efficient and their attacks more sophisticated. Yes, that sounds like a sci-fi movie in the making right there, but as it stands, it is more science fact than anything else.
Then there is IoT to consider. One of the major issues the industry at large had with IoT when it first began to creep into our consciousness, was security. Each endpoint connected to the internet (Gartner predicts this number will be close to 20.4 billion by 2020) presents a possible attack surface for cyber criminals. The very thought of having a hacker access our bank accounts through a smart fridge (yes, it’s an extreme example) is something that keeps us awake at night.
Then there is the development of cloud to consider. We’re entering a new era with the use of DevOps. From an infrastructure point of view, we’re employing DevOps to transform companies, make them more agile, get to market quicker and make them more effective. For the most part, this relies heavily on the use of code. If that code is poorly designed, or designed in an insecure fashion, it presents an opportunity for threat actors to take control of business operations, instead of just data. This can have much wider reaching ramifications other than loss of money or damage to reputation – this is something else entirely, especially if that organisation is in the defence sector, or financial services.
Taking things down a level, there are other threats to consider too – like smartphones. Cyber criminals and hackers will focus more on using our own mobile phones to gain access to our data and company networks. This is simply because we’re using our smartphones more and more, and the chances of us clicking on a link or opening a dodgy email heighten with every minute we spend using these devices.
Of course, the danger in being too future focused is that we miss what’s in front of us. Yes, it’s important to be aware of what’s potentially coming up, especially on the cyber threat front. But it’s equally important to consider that all the traction we gain now in fighting cyber criminals, all the lessons we learn and the solutions we develop, to ensure we’re doing all we can now, to keep our organisations, partners and customers safe.