Hemant patel

Cyber threats in 2015 and beyond will only grow more fatal and evolved

Today’s workplace is increasingly mobile and digital. Everyone and everywhere people are being seen using smartphones, notebooks, tablets, etc. With the ever increasing use of electronics and technology, cyber threat comes as a major concern. Dataquest spoke to Hemal Patel, CEO, Cyberoam Technologies & SVP Sophos and got an insight of the whole scenario, challenges, and the reaction of the organizations. Excerpts

What impact does cyber threat have on the financial health of the organization?

Cyber threats can lead to serious consequences, which is not limited—hackers getting away with siphoning off financial data and trade secrets. Bigger blow can come from a business not being able to keep up with regulatory needs and ends up exposing customer or classified data.

How is the new age workplace becoming prone to cyber threats?

Today’s workplace is increasingly mobile and digital netizens. They belong to an always connected world, using multiple devices from smartphones to tablets to netbooks. Workplace norms are also changing. People have to collaborate and use social media and similar apps for business and personal life. Their actions are constantly exposed to Internet threats and risks. All it takes is one wrong click. Plus there is a growing tendency towards online shopping, net-banking, and web-based transactions. No denying there’s a significant risk exposure involved like never before.

How are organizations reacting to this and how can they enable a liberal IT culture while not putting security at risk?

Businesses from all walks of life face this challenge as growing consumerization of IT introduces new security challenges. Today’s businesses face a double-whammy. Here’s how it goes, on one hand they have to be customer-focused, so they strive to make their content, apps, and services available to an ever-growing number of connected users and devices on a much larger scale than ever before. And on the other hand, they need to make sure, their networks, servers, apps, data, and users are secure. Most CXOs struggle to cope with this since it takes some serious efforts, requires revisiting security and risk areas. Innovations in business technology—cloud computing, virtualization, BYOD—are changing and, in most cases improving, how organizations work. But these advancements also bring new levels of security risk that demand new identification and prevention tools. Forward looking CXOs observe these new vulnerabilities and take a review of existing security posture to make suitable investments in next-generation defences.

What are the key trends in unified threat management? What is the state of adoption in the domestic market?

Having got entrenched with small and mid-market organizations, UTMs have gradually found their place in emerging enterprises businesses as well. As more CXOs look to consolidate IT and networking, UTMs have come to provide a better solution with integrated and unified security capabilities over a single appliance. And UTMs are also being evolved to meet security and performance needs.

What are the biggest cyber threats being faced by an organization today? How are companies like Cyberoam helping? Is your approach to the solution different or just like all other security players?

The key problem is that while Indian businesses are able to match their moves with companies in mature or advanced markets, in adopting IT, cloud, mobility and other disruptive influences, the security part somehow fails to remain in tandem. A recent survey puts India among top five most vulnerable countries, facing massive cyber threats. As a result, organizations face a bevy of new threats including malware attacks, targeted attacks through spear phishing, social engineering, water holing methods and more. At a recent event by Indo America Chamber of Commerce (IACC), it was revealed that India is way behind the international standards of defence against cyber-attacks practiced across the world. According to studies done by various research organizations, cyber attacks on Indian government organizations rose by a shocking rate of 136% last year. And according to reports, sophisticated cyber assaults like ransomware and spear-phishing has cost Indian individuals and companies some $4 bn.

As far as our approach on security is concerned, we go with a more holistic view and innovate with a vision to ensure our security solutions are able to transcend across the enterprise, securing everything from users, apps, servers, networks, data, and even critical infrastructure.

Can you talk about some significant developments in cyber security in 2015? What will be your strategic plans in line with these changes?

Security has become a critical deliverable and a strategic aspect to ensure IT and network transformation is achieved successfully. For most CIOs, security has become a catalyst element in driving IT led reforms and change. Hence there’s a need to allocate adequate measure of investment in the right kind of security, which will enable long term relevance to accommodate growing security needs and will also dovetail easily with existing infrastructure. CIOs should aim for and invest in security that will support every need including securing head-offices, remote offices, datacenters, virtual environments, BYOD visibility, centralized security management and more with ease.

Cyber threats in 2015 and beyond will only grow more fatal and evolved. We observe that most of these trends will lead to growth in malvertising, rise in IoT attacks/exploits, spread of fraudulent malware targeting financial & retail industry, more client-side attacks (Adobe, Java, IE), spear phishing threats and attacks on legacy protocols and infrastructure, proliferation of mobile malware shall also rise. Cyberoam with its unique vision is committed to secure customers and businesses against both external as well as insider threats. We are closely observing how IT is changing things and also see how in turn this paradigm is changing the role of security.

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