5 Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity

Tim Woods

Cybersecurity trends—a result of technological developments, cultural shifts and attackers’ innovations—build upon the past. Without the Internet of Things, we wouldn’t have edge computing; without privacy concerns, we wouldn’t have such strong legislation growth. We’ve identified five emerging trends in cybersecurity, where automation is an underlying theme, that will shape the lives of security professionals in 2020 and beyond.

Cybersecurity Trend #1: Automation Will Become the Norm

Moore’s Law about technology’s acceleration rate may be nearing its end—but a subset of the maxim will continue to apply to IT security teams. The complexity and volume of firewall rules and policy are but one example: Nearly one-third of people surveyed for FireMon’s “2019 State of the Firewall” report have more than 100 firewalls on their network, up from 26% in 2018. Security operations (SecOps) teams are managing this complexity by bringing on more vendors and types of firewalls—in fact, juggling these is the third-most-cited challenge in firewall management, according to the report.

Between growing security threats, robotic process automation and the continued dearth of skilled workers, automation may be less a cybersecurity trend than a necessity. Companies with a need for always-on detection of network configuration changes and immediate implementation would benefit from FireMon Automation’s multi-level approach to security policy automation that gives organizations flexibility and control over their automation journey.

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Cybersecurity Trend #2: Transparency Will Continue to Grow in Importance

Consumers’ awareness of privacy and security issues is growing—most notably with data breaches, but also with how companies use their personal data. Couple that with legislation like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, and security professionals’ obligation expands beyond their clients to the public at large.

Communication about best practices may play an increasingly important role in this cybersecurity trend. Security professionals will have an ever-greater responsibility to liaise with all arms of their organizations to ensure that cybersecurity is unilaterally understood to be more than simply the territory of the IT department. It should be a standard factor in day-to-day operations, not something reserved for red alerts like data breaches.

Cybersecurity Trend #3: Security Challenges Presented by Artificial Intelligence Will Intensify

One of Gartner’s 2020 technology trends, AI security may be a cybersecurity trend, but it’s more than that—it’s a fundamental challenge. It’s not simply a matter of protecting AI systems and using the technology as a method of security; it’s also about staying ahead of attackers’ own use of AI.

Using their own cyber trends like training-data poisoning, model theft and adversarial samples, attackers are becoming more sophisticated in manipulating AI systems. With adversarial samples, for example, attackers can alter data to cause an AI classifier to misclassify it, and they do it with such delicacy that human observers can’t spot the change. These sorts of attackers make automation all the more essential to AI security, particularly as it frees up human labor to work on the more nuanced attack scenarios that require critical thinking.

Cybersecurity Trend #4: Edge Computing Will Further Amplify Security Issues

Data is on the edge—literally, in the case of the cybersecurity trend of edge computing, which processes data closer to the geographic area where it’s needed as opposed to a centralized location. It exemplifies the tension between security and development: Edge computing’s agility brings new vulnerabilities. By definition, edge computing expands data’s surface area, so its attack surface is also increased.

There could be more than 20 times as many smart devices at the edge of the network as there are in conventional spaces by 2023, according to Gartner. Security teams would be wise to invest in edge security before that tipping point happens. By reconsidering security perimeters, strategically deploying firewalls, and doubling down on best practices in security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR), SecOps teams can stay ahead of the game.

Cybersecurity Trend #5: Threat Intelligence Will Become More Actionable

The “rocket fuel” for security orchestration, automation and response programs, threat intelligence provides the information security teams act upon. Trouble is, sheer volume can prevent threat intelligence from being used, well, intelligently. SecOps teams’ true challenge is to discriminate among potential threats to root out the real problems—impossible with the hyperabundance of data. While 80.8% of respondents to a recent survey from the SANS Institute say threat intelligence has improved their security response, most organizations are relying on manual or semi-automated processes.

Leveraging the possibilities of automation makes the most out of the glut of data, all in real time. In this landscape, upgrading to automated tools that allow for validating and contextualizing threat intelligence will be one of the cybersecurity trends of 2020.

Ready to upgrade your company’s threat intelligence? Request a demo of FireMon Automation today.