While the latest cybersecurity news has been flooded with stories of data breaches, unidentifiable hacker groups, ransomware attacks, leaked business data, sensitive voter records, and more, it’s easy to overlook some of the impressive and inherently good advancements we’ve made in 2017. This Thanksgiving I’d like to pause the negative news stories and take a look at some of the positive developments made in cybersecurity this past year.
- The acceleration of digitalism
In the past, mistrust of network and telecommunication technologies have had tremendous socio-economic impacts on everyone from individuals to global enterprises. However, the occurrence of international frauds like the Macron Campaign Attack and Wikileak’s Vault 7 has led to impressive collaboration across international borders. Cybersecurity professionals, nonprofits, and government organizations are now working together and sharing information about threats more than ever before.
The result: Newfound trust in digital transformation policies. Organizations across every industry are recognizing the advancements cybersecurity has made to enable and inspire their moves to become digital businesses. In fact, 2017 showed a record number of businesses moving their infrastructures online paired with involvement in heightened cybersecurity processes.
- Hacking the cybersecurity labor crisis
In the past year, the cybersecurity workforce has steadily grown from an impressive 1 million job openings in 2014 to projections of 3.5 times that number between 2017 and 2021. The desperate need to fill these careers has not gone unnoticed. Everyone from academia to leaders in the technology field is exploring all conceivable options to close the cyber skills gap. CIO’s are cross-training their IT teams while universities are creating new two-year, online, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in cybersecurity.
It hasn’t stopped there. Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girls Scouts of American and former rocket scientist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is making waves in the development of cybersecurity skills starting with our nation’s youth. With the introduction of 18 new cybersecurity Girl Scout badges upcoming in 2018, Girl Scouts of every age (K-12) will be able to explore opportunities in STEM while developing leadership and problem-solving skills. Talk about a step forward!
- Continued advancements in AI
For better or for worse, Artificial intelligence (AI) has never been more capable than it is today. From language learning and reinforcement techniques to dueling neural networks,
AI is a transformative technology that has made extensive advancements in the potential to radically transform the degree to which we process and utilize information in data– in ways that people simply cannot. As these systems continue to mature, they will drive important societal impacts in things like education, healthcare, the economy, and more.
- Tax breaks for cybersecurity industries
New laws and court rulings surrounding the regulations of the 1980 R&D Tax Credit has had an immense impact on cybersecurity organizations. In the past several decades the R&D Tax Credit has significantly evolved to benefit a more diverse and wide range of U.S. businesses–expanding from rewarding only basic scientific research (i.e. lab work) to qualifying applied research (the kind of research that entails technical problem solving and work that is performed on a computer or factory floor). This has fostered and rewarded the creation of entirely new systems and products while improving existing ones. A recent expansion and permanence of the credit now allow cybersecurity businesses to reap the benefits with the filing of their 2016 tax returns this year.
- Cloud security becomes a top priority
There is no denying that the cloud is increasingly becoming a security target as the technology continues to mature and is adopted by the enterprise market. Fortunately, tech companies and managed security service providers are shifting the focus from protection to prevention. Forward-looking cybersecurity organizations are now directing their energies toward building a cloud security operations center to fill the gap left open by traditional vendors with plans to specifically tailor security for the cloud.
Predictive Intelligence: The sensor becomes the perimeter
2017 has been the year that security industries finally stepped up the challenge of enabling things like operating technology (OT) and the Internet of Things (IoT). As OT and IoT partnerships and platforms have risen to simplify OT and IoT adoption, new advancements are underway to transform different industries. Emerging IoT technologies have promised to improve customer experience in retail and we’ve already seen some amazing advancements–including Amazon’s Go zero-checkout store which replaces the physical checkout experience entirely, the development of Electronic Shelf Labels which is fed data analytics and automatically updated by a backend system, and Bluetooth beacons that track your movement around the store. New advancements are popping up in every industry, and IoT applications and technology promises to make huge impacts on both supply chain management and customer relations.
Many of these initiatives are aimed at improving the customer experience, relying on a greater insight of the supply chain and an ability to react instantaneously to real-time information. Supply chain efficiencies should be a top goal for establishments in terms of reducing waste and cost as well as improving relationships with customers and suppliers.
As you can see, 2017 has left us with some pretty impressive technology and cybersecurity advancements to be thankful for. It’s only natural, that with new waves of technologies has come to a few technical insecurities.
Cybersecurity is by no means done developing, and we are excited to see what positive developments next year has to offer.