Achieving the right cyber security balance
A worldwide explosion of apps and e-commerce sites has created a disjointed control over data that is shared between organisations, leading to security breaches. Furthermore, personal information disclosed on social platforms and via unsecured channels has created a real danger of identity theft, practically handing fraudsters the tools needed for cyber crime.
As Marty Young, Data and Analytics Executive at F5, which provides solutions for an application world, points out: "This is the hybrid world, where technologies are integrated to provide the benefits of multiple deployment models. As enterprises move to the cloud, optimising their operations and utilising more technologies into their business processes, so does the interplay between applications become more complex, with security as a vital component, since they are the basis of continued operations in the digital age.
In Africa, Networks Unlimited distributes F5 solutions. "Now, more than ever, Web application security matters on the African continent," says Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited. "We are experiencing a massive spike in Internet access across the region, especially apps accessed via mobile devices, and with victim demographics ranging far and wide, more and more individual and company data is at risk of being compromised."
Young adds the rapid rise of the Internet of things (IOT) in the marketplace has resulted in an increase in the back-end data workload, which is putting tremendous pressure on networks.
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"Nowhere is this felt more keenly than on legacy IT infrastructures and the security environments, and it will only become more pronounced throughout 2016," he maintains. "The number of ‘things' connected to devices that are capable of being harnessed, thanks to their connectivity and reliance on APIs, have the potential to become a BOT for cyber attacks such as DDOS."
Although they will undoubtedly be alarming, Young says such attacks will drive a demand for assured security among consumers, eventually leading to security being a key "must-have" feature for Internet devices. "Unless organisations remain proactive, the ubiquity of connected devices presents a gold mine for attackers," he continues. "Therefore, we expect to see more enterprises focusing on ensuring that their IT infrastructure is stable and secure enough to support the exploding data workloads as a result of IOT on their networks. And, on the consumer side of things, manufacturers of TVs and wearable devices will be putting security at the top of their priority lists."
Young also stresses that a well-run security strategy is not just about perimeter security; rather, it is to protect availability and confidentiality of information while supporting business processes. "Understanding and controlling risks allows organisations to innovate by leveraging technology for competitive differentiation and new customer offerings. Organisations that depend on their online presence for survival need a holistic security strategy. One that not only protects the organisation, its employees, customers and end-users against attack vectors, but is also able to react quickly to attacks in order to minimise damage," he concludes.