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Jan 21, 2019

SIA 2019 Security Megatrends 1 & 2 – What You Need to Know

The next set of blog posts will explore the SIA’s forecasted 2019 Security Megatrends in order of importance. We are going to dive into Megatrends #1 and #2 in our first post.

Megatrend 1: 8 Smart Ways to Integrate Physical and Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity’s impact on physical security moved from the number two spot in 2018 to claim the number one security concern in the new year. This year will continue the escalating arms race between security professionals and cybersecurity criminals.

Several newer cybersecurity threats are forecast to dominate the landscape. According to “The Cybersecurity Imperative” produced by ESI ThoughtLab and WSJ Pro Cybersecurity in partnership with the SIA and other organizations, AI, the IoT and blockchain technologies, in conjunction with the proliferation of open platforms, will be the largest risk factors in cybersecurity. This comprehensive report also foresees most risks coming through electronic interactions with partners, customers, vendors and supply chains as businesses become more interconnected.

How do you secure both your physical and cyber assets against these growing threats? The following provides 8 ways to best integrate physical and cybersecurity:

  1. Nix default passwords in your software and equipment: This is one of the top ways for hackers to install malware, phish for information or deploy ransomware, all potentially devastating ways to access your network.
  2. Test and test some more: Software, hardware and other products, whether they be IoT or another, benefit from a thorough testing period. Ideally, you should test multiple times and have a third party test them as well.
  3. Know your risks: Use a monitoring program that tracks and reports vulnerabilities, or hire a security company to help you with this important task. Then prioritize the list and devise a plan for addressing all risks.
  4. Dive into your software and firmware: Are your updates up to date? Do you know who’s using your software and firmware? Run regular reports to catch any vulnerabilities and only grant access to authorized users.
  5. Designate a central command: Create a security resource center for your customers and security integrators to keep everyone on the same page. Where there are communication gaps, seek to fill them. Silos can breed security breaches.
  6. Educate, educate, educate: Ensure that your security training program is up to speed and that all employees receive ample and ongoing training.
  7. Start early with cybersecurity: Build cybersecurity into every product development cycle. When you integrate it early, you can find holes.
  8. Repeat: Cybersecurity risks aren’t going away. As they get stronger, your security needs to be strengthened too. Stay ahead of the curve. Keep learning, tweaking and improving.

These steps go a long way towards securing both physical and cyber spaces.

Megatrend 2: Top Challenges and Opportunities as the IoT and Big Data Converge
Big data is big business. A recent Accenture study showed that 79% of enterprise executives believe that companies that do not embrace big data will lose their competitive positions and even face extinction. On the flip side, 83% are embracing big data to gain a competitive edge.

Data continues to mount as more and more devices join this data collection party. From drones to robotics, to SaaS to the IoT, connected devices and platforms are generating data at an alarming speed, which makes it difficult to properly protect. When it comes to crucial information like healthcare, financial or other sensitive information, security becomes the ultimate challenge. How do we keep this data safe as the Iot and big data converge so that we can use both to benefit our businesses as well as our lives?

Let’s break down the challenges and opportunities:

Challenge: By 2020, Statista predicts that there will be between 6.6 and 30 billion IoT connected devices. With more data comes the need for more ways to communicate that data to the end user and responding authorities efficiently and securely.
Opportunity: Analytics and AI to the rescue. With these superpowers, it’s infinitely easier to parse and digest big data. As more devices collect information, these newer technologies can help enterprises put the information to work. On the security front, this equates to faster response times for security system users and the responding authorities.

Challenge: The IoT and other smart platforms provide an easy way in for potential hackers to breach the physical-cyber security connection. Any connected devices are at great risk, and open connections make them even more vulnerable.
Opportunity: If set early, the enabling data analytics function yields safer and more productive data generation. For instance, certain types of dashboarding and IoT enablement facilitate this. With better built in protection, these devices can counteract various threats.

2019 promises to be a year of big changes for as IoT and big data converge. The companies that seize these trends and the opportunities that go with them will be the ones that come out ahead.