Cybersecurity challenges in a digitally transforming world

Say the word “cybersecurity,” and most of us immediately think of viruses infecting our computers, ransomware that demands a fee to decrypt our data, and hackers working to penetrate a network to steal data. Indeed, these kinds of attacks cause serious damage and take up a lot of security professionals’ time.

Two persons walking down isle of computer racks in a datacenter.
Antonio Grasso

Founder and CEO of Digital Business Innovation Srl (Guest blogger)

But it will get worse. I don’t want to sound alarmist, but as our world becomes increasingly digital, the more often we will face cyberattacks and the more varied their targets will be. Criminals won’t just target our PCs and networks. Thanks to the digital transformation we’re undergoing, we live in far more target rich environment than we did even a few years ago. Hackers will attempt to break into life-saving devices in hospitals, commandeer autonomous vehicles, crack the controls at industrial facilities and hijack our home appliances to mount large-scale attacks.

“This is not acceptable!” we may say. “We need to act!” Our immediate reaction to this new and dangerous world could be to unplug our devices from the network, which exposes us to attack while exchanging data. But, of course, this is no solution. Sure, the devices are now safe from cyberattacks, but they also completely isolated and far less useful.

In our highly digital and interconnected world, we cannot guarantee that something is completely “secure” any more than we can guarantee we will never crash when we drive a car. So just as we design cars, roads and highways with safety in mind, we need to “design” safety into our devices, networks and even the way in which organizations interact with them to reduce the chance of an attack succeeding and the damage they can cause, if successful.

This week, I’m attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to see how the big players are facing those challenges, especially with 5G adoption and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things. I’ll update readers on what I discover. but in the meantime, I have been thinking a lot about how to reshape cyber-safety and better respond to increasingly sophisticated attacks, since we must accept the fact that we cannot avoid them.

I found this content on security management from Ericsson especially interesting because it lays out a vision I share about cybersecurity, now and into the future. Ericsson also sees cyberattacks increasing as new devices and services come online:

We know that cyber security management is becoming more complicated as networks evolve to Cloud, 5G and IoT. With such big changes comes greater risk of attack. Systems are becoming more vulnerable, with new threats appearing from every angle - from major organizations to individuals.

To mitigate the consequence of cyberattacks, we need to take an end-to-end approach with a focus on IAM (Identity and Access Management) and extensive use of automation to manage security. Ericsson illustrates this well in this engaging image:

A proactive, multi-layered approach is the best way to reduce the impact of cyberattacks on an organization. For example, machine learning can automate pattern identification to spot anomalous behavior on the network with the aim of identifying attacks before they can cause serious harm. This kind of proactive approach is one of the most powerful weapons we hold to thwart cybercriminals

Unfortunately, as our defensive technology advances, hackers create more innovative attacks, which means our defensive policy must constantly evolve to remain effective. From reactive to proactive, we need to embrace this philosophy.

We cannot permit cyber threat to slow the process of digital transformation process. Instead, we need to fight back through innovative adaptation. Cyber-safety and cybersecurity must be designed into emerging technologies and organizational cultures to reduce risk so we can continue to improve on our fascinating, digitally transforming world.

To learn more, read how Swisscom has selected the Ericsson Security Manager for the Swisscom Security Operation Center to address their growing security management needs


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