Four key predictions for enterprise security in 2016
Four key predictions for enterprise security in 2016

Hackers are increasingly sophisticated and driven, claiming successful attacks on increasing numbers of high profile organisations and this is a trend we can expect to see continue.

Enterprise security continues to change as the threats that businesses face are constantly morphing. No organisation can afford to underestimate the scale and potential cost of cyber-threats and security breaches. Nor can organisations afford to underestimate the importance of anticipating and being prepared for cyber-attacks.

2015 saw a series of high profile cyber-attacks that damaged many organisations' reputations – and sometimes hit them financially too. The target at the heart of many of these attacks is data, an asset that needs to be protected at all times from theft, loss or breach. In previous years, data was stored in a secure location with access only available through a verified connection. But with cloud-based technologies becoming increasingly popular due to flexibility, accessibility and other benefits, now organisations also have to consider the security risks and considerations to ensure that business-critical information is always secure, regardless of where and how access to the information is needed.

It is refreshing to see that companies are taking cyber-security more seriously, even if some of them are only doing so as a result of having fallen victim to malicious attacks. The UK government, for example, has pledged £1.9 billion investment in cyber-security over the next five years and to “aggressively defend” public services from cyber-attacks.

The threats faced and intelligence needed in enterprise security is always changing and the organisations and individuals that stay on top of these trends will be best placed to handle whatever comes their way.

So, looking ahead into 2016, what are the key trends emerging for enterprise security?

Unencrypted data to rise up the boardroom agenda

Last year saw several high profile data breaches that resulted in the release of unencrypted sensitive information. With the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) as well as Safe Harbour well in the spotlight, the topic of unencrypted data will continue to rise up the boardroom and political agenda, with blame being apportioned to the parties and service providers that fail to adequately encrypt their data.

Beyond 2016, we can expect organisations to be held more accountable when unencrypted data falls into the wrong hands.

It also important not to underestimate the prevalence of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.  A few years ago there was a view that DDoS was something that was a passing phase, yet businesses are still constantly being tested with new attacks, which means an agile response is more important than ever before.  And according to recent BT research, 59 percent of companies felt that the sophistication of DDoS threats is increasing, with 40 percent of organisations saying they lacked an effective DDoS response plan.

SMBs adopt Managed Security Services

Multinational contracts are no longer the preserve of enterprises alone – SMBs are increasingly supplying contracts that require managed security services built into their contracts. As a result, 2016 will start to see the market for managed security services for SMBs to take off.

Single platforms for security

2016 will be the year of the single platform security solution. For many years, the vision of major security vendors has been to create a single security platform which can address all of a customer's security needs on one platform. This year will see the first tangible deployments of this fully-connected capability.

Customer expectations increasing

Customers are already growing accustomed to the real-time threat intelligence. As the technology continues to proliferate in 2016, customers will no longer be happy to accept generic security controls - they will demand real-time threat intelligence that provides the best and most relevant intelligence and actionable insights, when and where they need it.

With threats constantly evolving, businesses need to follow the latest trends in enterprise security, and these days these threats are increasingly more virtual than physical. To create the right kind of fortress around your data and retain the trust of your customers, every business will need to work with security partners who will probe defences, uncover vulnerabilities and spot security gaps.

Contributed by Mark Hughes, CEO, BT Security