Cloud computing, the increasing use of mobile devices and the merging of home and work life have been identified as being among the top ten most likely threat scenarios that organisations may face in the future.

According to the Information Security Forum (ISF) Threat Horizon 2012 report, core themes include the lack of investment in critical infrastructure at a national and organisational level. This warns that there is an over-reliance on internet-only channels and the advent of cloud computing and mobile working, combined with poor internet resilience at pinch points on the network, means businesses will need contingency plans to continue operating when the internet fails.

It also warns of how the 'internet generation' and the merge of work and home life have caused changes in attitudes to protecting information.  Personally owned mobile devices are routinely used for business and connect to the network, while business is now regularly conducted via social networking sites.

Adrian Davis, principal research analyst at ISF, said that smartphones in particular have become the device of choice and many organisations have developed bespoke applications and rolled them out to mobile workers, further blurring the line between personal and business use.

He said: “This raises a number of added security implications as devices now share many characteristics of the mainframe, like middleware, but the security model is simply not adapting to these new demands.  With mobile payment facilities becoming more viable, these devices will become even more lucrative to cyber criminals.

“Security issues apply to everyone, regardless of industry, size and structure – everyone needs to apply best practice and processes when it comes to securing their vital assets. Predicting the future is never an exact science, but it does allow organisations to take an informed approach to risk and security planning and build in necessary precautions.”