Internet of things increasing the stakes in cybersecurity

1 Feb 2016

The connected machines are coming, raising the stakes for defence against cyber attacks

The internet of things is expected to increase the stakes for securing cloud-based networks as the number of internet-connected devices continues to surge to greater than 30 billion by 2020, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ State of Information Security 2016 report.

Globally, the average financial loss due to security incidents is now €2.3m, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

However, rather than let attackers win, boardrooms and business leaders are fighting back by increasing their security budgets by 24pc in the past year alone.

This is leading to a kind of renaissance in developing technologies and frameworks to fight off attacks with cloud authentication emerging as a replacement for passwords.

The vast majority of organisations – 91pc – have adopted a security framework or, more often, an amalgam of frameworks. These technologies are yielding considerable opportunities to improve cybersecurity and produce holistic, integrated safeguards against cyberattacks.

The machines are coming

“The survey highlights that cyber is the risk that will define our generation in Ireland and globally,” explained Leonard McAuliffe, director of PwC Ireland’s cyber and technology practice.

“Some interesting trends are greater collaboration on approaches to cybersecurity, including sharing of intelligence, greater use of cloud technology and purchasing of cybersecurity insurance.

“We are seeing more of what we once saw as a risk, being turned into possible solutions. For example, many organisations are embracing advanced authentication as a cloud service in place of solely password-based authentication.”

According to the report, 69pc of respondents said they use cloud-based security services to help protect sensitive data and ensure privacy and the protection of consumer information.

Connected to the emergence of cloud-based systems, big data and the internet of things are technologies that present a host of cyber challenges and opportunities. In the case of big data, often considered a cyber liability, 59pc of respondents are leveraging data-powered analytics to enhance security by putting real-time information to use in ways that create real value.

As the number of internet-connected devices continues to surge, the internet of things will inevitably increase the stakes for securing cloud-based networks. Investment intended to address these issues doubled in 2015, but at this point just over a third (36pc) of survey respondents have a strategy specifically addressing the internet of things.

Ciarán Kelly, an advisory leader at PwC Ireland, said: “There is no one-size-fits-all model for effective cybersecurity. It’s a journey toward a future state that starts with the right mix of technologies, processes, and people skills. With those components in place, cybersecurity potentially serves as an indispensable ongoing business enabler.”

Security robot image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years