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Core Thoughts: The Best Trends in Cybersecurity

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Core ThoughtsCore Thoughts is a  series  on my blog where I throw a question into the ring for discussion and allow my amazing colleagues and connections to answer. In this month’s Core Thoughts series I posed the following question to many of my government and private sector connections who I know to be deep in the cybersecurity discussion.

“In your opinion, what are the best trends in cybersecurity right now? “

I received so many great responses that I decided to change the format of this blog a little and share the overarching themes from my contact – ? responses, instead of their actual comments. What you see below is the summation of the common themes I observed in the 11+ pages of responses I received.

 

Understanding the Threat

A theme I saw repeated a few times in responses was that the very discussion of cyber is growing and moving beyond IT and into an organization-wide discussion. While the cyber threat isn’t new, the perception shift now is that we’re finally beginning to understand it and giving it the focus it requires. This is a good thing. Some responses identified the importance of understanding “threat intelligence “, others pointed at the implications of a critical infrastructure attack and how that really cuts through all industries, departments and sectors.

“Access to information for defense ??during peace, or times of war ??is critical. Imagine what would happen if someone could shut down the entire power grid in the U.S. ” -Steve Huys,  Senior Business Development Manager, Space/Radar/Missiles, Honeywell

Education

Cybersecurity has become so important to our continued national security that many colleges and universities across the U.S. now offer cybersecurity programs of study. This struck a chord as a positive trend with some key details called out by my connections, specifically the integration of cyber as a core element of any data-driven program of study- not just “it’s own thing “.

“We need the education trend to expand so that our knowledge sphere can, over time, reduce the breach capabilities we see today. ” –Anna-Maria G. Palmer, Senior VP Human Resources, Compass Pointe HC

Integration

Along with the educational integration mentioned above, many of my connections touched on this trend, specifically of capabilities, networks and hardware. As what we define as “cybersecurity ” grows to include more than just the protection of files, or a single network, so to does the need for vendors, users and leaders to think about cyber (and the accompanying products and services) as part of an integrated whole with all parts connected and all elements symbiotic.

“…as our networks become larger, the opportunity for bad actors to access them and take malicious action increases exponentially. [Cyber integration]…will be critical in determining how well we stay ahead of that threat curve. ” -Jon Rucker,  Director Integrated Air & Missile Defense, Lockheed Martin

National Strategy

On the intelligence and national security side of things, how do we think about overhead assets and maintain network security for cyber and space, as well as mission operations? One comment struck me particularly ??that under CYBERCOM we can expect our position on cyber to be shaped by “national intelligence and strategic perspective rather than by a tactical asset perspective. ”

“…from the Air Force perspective, the connection between cyber and space protection is incredibly important… ” -Eric D’Anna, Colonel @ USAF, Retired

Private Vendors

2015 has seen a variety of high profile cyber attacks, particularly on private sector networks like Target and Sony Pictures. These hacks demonstrate the widening scope of hackers (many of them being nation-state actors) beyond traditional government targets. What my connections pointed out was that this new avenue of the “softer target ” requires commercial and government solutions providers to think more expansively about their service offerings. Private sector cyber threats are growing at an alarming rate and, in order to keep up, vendors are upping their game, especially as Internet of Things offerings explode into the commercial space.

“The need for [private IT enterprise services] will only rise as the Internet of Things takes hold. The implications are enormous. ” -Ron Corsetti,  Principal, White Birch Analytics

Teamwork & Cooperation

With the threat so pervasive and continuing to evolve, no one company can protect its network alone. We’re seeing more and more collaboration and cooperation in the cyber solutions space, including threat intelligence sharing. With a posture of sharing and collaboration our chances of a strengthened corporate and critical infrastructure is vastly improved.

“I believe the best trend right now in cybersecurity is how many organizations and business interests are trying to work together… ” -Henry Baird,  President Baird & Associates, formerly  Director Strategy & Business Development for ATK

 

Well, there you have it: a glimpse into the future of cybersecurity from some of the best minds in the business. So, do you agree or disagree with the trends discussed here? Do you have your own you’d like to add to the conversation? I’d love to hear your own thoughts on the matter so please leave a comment below.

 

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