Cybersecurity is an issue that affects all of us on every level of our lives, on the individual level up through businesses and governments. Data security involves many moving parts, from companies looking to defend their business from outside attacks and inner vulnerabilities to individual consumers like you looking to protect their personal data.
As a consumer, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends sweeping the cybersecurity world. As recent history shows, large and respected companies are not immune to significant data breaches and cyberattacks, and neither are our governments. In addition to keeping yourself in the loop, take steps to audit your online presence, using a site like Nuwber to monitor what personal data is available about you online. Err on the side of caution when deciding to share personal information on the internet. Remember – you can never be too careful.
Expect Continued Increased Spending on Cybersecurity
The exponential growth of the internet and the rapid increase of internet users globally has created a perfect storm for cybercrime to flourish. The internet has grown so large so fast that efforts to secure it have severely lagged while at the same time half the world’s population has come online. Hackers have seized the opportunity, and Cybersecurity Ventures estimated that by 2020, cybercrime will cost $6 trillion per year.
Coupled with numerous cyberattacks on high-profile companies in recent years, businesses and governments are making significant investments in cybersecurity. The global research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. has predicted that spending on cybersecurity products and services will top $124 billion by 2020. While larger corporations are making the most significant investments, small-to-midsize companies are also increasing investments in cybersecurity for their own interests.
However, spending alone will not solve the epidemic of cybercrime. Organizations that truly value data security will be looking to educate and train their employees to recognize the forms cybercrime can take and empower them to report anything suspicious through appropriate channels so it can be addressed. That human element is an extremely important one in maintaining data security.
The Pool of Cybercrime Experts is Not Expanding Fast Enough
Another reason spending won’t solve our cybercrime crisis – there is a serious gap between the number of cybersecurity jobs available and the number of eligible and qualified candidates who can fill these positions. By 2021, Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that there will be 3.5 million open cybersecurity jobs by 2021. Quite obviously, the demand for qualified cybersecurity specialists is far from being met and this gap in defense will leave organizations increasingly vulnerable in the years to come.
From an organizational perspective, offering a more generous pay and benefits package may lure an expert or two. However, it would behoove most businesses to invest in serious cybersecurity training for some of their existing employees as a means to bridge the gap between available talent and open positions.
The Rise of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Yet another layer of challenges in protecting data security comes in the form of the 5G network and the IoT, which refers to everything connected from the internet from your phone and laptop to your car and smart thermostat. The 5G network is already off the ground in the United States, with the expectation that all Americans will have access by 2021.
The substantially faster downloading speeds of the 5G network have supported the rapidly expanding Internet of Things, which is anticipated to encompass over 36 billion unique devices by 2020. Super-fast download speeds mean that more and more DT’s can be transferred from internet-connected devices.
This creates a logistical nightmare in terms of cybersecurity. As we integrate ever more smart devices into our lives, encompassing everything from lightbulbs to home security systems, cybersecurity experts must rapidly innovate ways to secure and protect the data these devices produce. Given that the cybersecurity field is already over-taxed and understaffed, this is a tall order indeed.
Governments are Passing More Stringent Data Privacy Regulations
Think about how much of your personal data is online, from personal information about where you live and work to banking information like credit card numbers and account details. Given just how much of our lives is already online and how that data has been treated in the past (bought, sold, and breached), governments around the world are now stepping in to demand companies do more to protect the data of consumers like you.
The most diligent efforts have come from the European Union which implemented the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in 2018. This legislation stipulates that businesses are obligated to protect the personal data of EU citizens, whether the company is based in the EU or elsewhere in the world. The GDPR includes, among other measures, that companies must seek consent before processing data, they must keep the data they collect and store anonymous, and they are responsible for notifying customers if may have been breached or compromised.
The federal government of the United States has, thus far, failed to take up any consumer data privacy legislation, but states across the country have been picking up the slack. Most notably, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which will take effect on January 1, 2020, and will be the strongest consumer data protection regulations in the country.
The CCPA empowers consumers with a great deal more information about what data companies collect and more control over how their data is used. Under this legislation, consumers have a right to know what personal data has been collected as well as access to that data. They will also have the right to know which companies have bought or sold their data and refuse the future sale of their personal information. They will also be able to request that a business delete their personal data.
More and more legislation is putting the onus on companies to use and store the data they have and collect responsibly. As consumers become more wary of sharing their personal data and protecting personal data security becomes increasingly important, we will likely see more consumer data protection legislation in the coming years.
The data security trends we are anticipating for 2020 reflect the ever-evolving internet world we all live in. As hackers become increasingly savvy and organizations try to juggle threats, cybersecurity budgets will continue to increase. However, the extra investment is not enough to bridge the gap between the anticipated millions of open cybersecurity jobs and the vulnerabilities those openings leave.
As for us consumers, the road to cybersecurity can seem confusing and overwhelming. Stay on top of the trends and take an active role in protecting your data privacy. It’s better to be safe than sorry.