Tech advancement must be balanced by a commitment to security
Ironically, as we ended October’s Cyber Security Awareness month, more security breaches were reported across the world. On the 25th of October the Netherlands-based technology company Nedap disclosed a hacking incident of its Carenzorgt.nl portal, used by thousands of Dutch healthcare institutions to share digital health records and personal data.
Keeping any business’s IT safe from attack has been a challenge since the start of the computer revolution. Today, it’s the number one priority for CTOs, CISOs, and the heads of IT everywhere. Likewise, Boxfusion spends a significant amount of time researching the latest cyber security threats and ensuring that the systems it develops and maintains for public sector institutions remain safe and protected from cyber-attacks.
It’s never been more critical to stay safe than now, either: the last two years saw a major surge in cyber crimes as the world struggled to come to terms with a global pandemic, and companies everywhere shifted to a work from home model.
With more staff working from home, the attack surface available to bad actors increased dramatically. It also increased the time it took by an extra 58 days for breaches to be identified and contained, and drove up the costs of handling a data breach from $3.89m to $4.96m. By 2030, Frost & Sullivan predicts that the world will be spending $433bn on cybersecurity.
No Silver Bullet (yet)
As big of an issue as cybersecurity is, there is - as yet - no silver bullet solution to protect against attack. And the risk of data loss and breaches just keeps on rising, as the emergence of artificial intelligence has essentially given anyone that wants it, the ability to launch attacks that can’t be easily countered.
“We know there is no single solution to fighting cybercrime,” says Boxfusion’s CTO Julius Segole. “We also know that using legacy security solutions to fight futuristic attacks isn’t the answer, either. What we need is more skills, more people, and new tools to use in the fight. And businesses themselves need a greater awareness of what’s at risk so they can proactively join the fight and reverse the organisational inertia that has prevented them from doing so already.”
A collective commitment is needed
A collective investment in tools and resources with which to fight cyberattacks is imperative to survive the next ten years, says Segole, because threat actors will just keep on doing what they’ve always done: sniff out opportunities and vulnerabilities in the ever-shifting technology landscape. And shift it will: Frost & Sullivan also predicts that by 2030, the earth will be home to more than 200 billion devices – more than 20 devices per human – each with its own set of risks and vulnerabilities.
“All organisations, from private to public, will need to rapidly accelerate their adoption of a cyber-security culture in the coming years to minimise both external and internal threats,” adds Segole.
“Incredibly robust cybersecurity will also need to be baked into the very core of each and every device, operating system, service, and endpoint; the tech world is already trying to do this, but the overall execution leaves a lot to be desired. This will need to be rectified, and soon, if we’re not going to end up with one massive attack surface and a never-ending barrage of paralyzing attacks at the end of the next decade,” Segole says.
Microsoft: Doing Cybersecurity Right
“This is why Boxfusion works so closely with Microsoft,” he adds. “Microsoft’s commitment to developing and deploying effective cybersecurity inside their entire product stack is exactly what is needed to stay ahead of attackers.
“We have the utmost confidence in their Azure cloud, in particular, because we know it’s the most secure way we can deliver our products and solutions to the South African public sector, while ensuring that we keep all user data safe.”
Balance Advancement with Potential Risks
Lastly, Segole says that it’s important to keep the benefits of rapid technological advancement in mind, and balance it with the potential risks we’re creating for the future. The field of AI, for example, is a notoriously controversial topic, with some advocating for its use everywhere, and others calling for a more reserved approach to its deployment into society at large.
If we don’t do that, says Segole, we run the risk of creating and relying on massive digital ecosystems in the future, the failure of which could have catastrophic societal consequences.
“It’s therefore up to the leadership of today to implement careful, measured, and highly secure solutions inside their organisations,” concludes Segole, “so that the cyber risks don’t grow alongside the technological advancements we deploy. It’s a fine line to walk, but with intelligence, reason, and a global commitment to securing those advances, we can build a future we can all look forward to.”
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