Data protection and cyber risk management continue to be some of the key pain points for contemporary CTOs. Even some of the world’s leading brands such as Apple and Sony have had disastrous encounters with hackers in the past few years, which only pointed to the extent to which everyone is vulnerable to cyber threats.
Unsurprisingly, protecting corporate data has become one of the top priorities and, at the same time, a top challenge for companies of different sizes. To discover what the future holds for the cyber security industry, I talked to Justine Bone, Executive Director for Secured Worldwide and Chief Technology Officer for VULT. With her background in the industry and her present role of a CTO in an evolving company, Justine offers fresh insights into this hot topic.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of large-scale security breaches happening globally. Do you think such trends will continue in future and at what rate?
Breaches have been occurring since the beginning of the digital age, but only recently did we see media and activists playing an active and public role in the space. In addition, disclosure legislation emerged in the 2000’s that requires companies to acknowledge breaches so we all started becoming more familiar with the story. Other variables are at play here too, including the legitimate role of blackhats outside of criminal and Government intelligence circles, and the communications tools that connect specialists and provide a platform for discussion and promotion. We even see zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits with their own PR campaigns. Once upon a time that was all kept behind closed doors, but it still existed.
With all these breaches echoing the global media, do you think people have a greater awareness of cyber security best practices?
There is no definite answer. For instance, the everyday consumer is aware their data is potentially exposed, but at the end of the day, folks are willing to take risks for the sake of growth, opportunity, business. Cyber security is risk management, and risk management is an art. Every person involved has their perspective, their personal risk culture.
How about CTOs? Do they tend to deploy cyber security measures reactively or proactively?
You can’t build and deploy quickly and compete in today’s environments without taking risks. The hard part is empowering CTO’s to understand those risks and make informed decisions as a result. As an example, they may be asking themselves if they really need two layers of encryption, or three factors of authentication, when the real questions relate to how the encryption keys are managed and what you’re trying to authenticate in the first place (human versus phone, for example). The cyber security vendor market is oversaturated with sub-optimal solutions promising to solve it all, and very little transparency within that market.
The 2015 Fortune 500 CEO survey revealed that two thirds of Fortune 500 CEOs see security as one of their top challenges. What do you think they can do to overcome it?
Addressing security challenges is an ongoing process. Just as there are no definite measures that will keep a person fully healthy the rest of their lives, there are always going to be security challenges. Its risk management and is an ongoing program. CEO’s are pressured now to recognize security as a critical issue, mostly by boards and outside influencers, and rightly so. It’s difficult for these folks to find qualified experts who can also speak their language, however.
Despite constant innovation in the industry, companies still fail to resist hacker attacks. What would you say the weakest link in enterprise security is? How is VULT doing this differently?
Single factor authentication, almost always in the form of a password, is one of our weakest links. Passwords need to go and many folks are working on this problem. There isn’t a silver bullet, yet.
As for VULT, it is a diamond-backed bearer instrument. What VULT provides is an alternative store of wealth, portability, and asset diversification. In a world where we depend on legacy financial institutions to manage our assets, VULT provides an alternative. The product itself has several layers of security to give consumers the confidence that their wealth is secured.
The cyber security market is estimated to reach $170.21 billion by 2020. Do you think this is a figure that promises a safer future for all of us?
This figure does indicate that it could provide for a safer future and probably create more awareness around the industry. There is a crack in everything however, and this is what we must not forget.
Overall, what are your predictions for the cyber security industry? Is it rising or falling?
Cyber will become broader and the role of senior information security leaders and senior technology managers will merge. We will weave cyber security into our everyday lives, eventually, and stop treating it as that “IT Problem”. Is that the rise of cyber?