By Martin Walshaw, Senior Security Specialist, F5 Networks
Today’s cybersecurity skills gap still needs urgent attention, and only a robust combination of investment, business resource, political will, and cultural change can make a difference. According to F5’s most recent State of Application Delivery (SoAD) Report, 28% of surveyed EMEA customers cited the “skills gap” as a significant security challenge.
The deficit is especially pronounced when cloud technology is involved, as speed to market, agility, and innovation become fundamental business priorities. Those lacking in-house resources to handle data and application migration are under intense pressure, and today’s cybersecurity talent pool is not large enough to satisfy the market. It is vital for firms to get better at identifying candidates, nurturing talent and assembling workforces equipped for future cybersecurity challenges.
Another key issue for businesses is the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) to underpin new generations of cognitive apps. Across EMEA, use-cases are entering the mainstream, including the health and financial sectors. This type of technology depends on allowing continuous access to a raft of personal data like biometrics and context (e.g. location). Meanwhile, advances in wearables and embeddable are likely to bring intuitive interfaces and convenience, as well as new levels of privacy and security risks.
As technology advances, businesses must ensure they stay ahead of the cybersecurity game. This is particularly true following the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which gives European citizens unprecedented data protection and privacy rights.
As with all apps, businesses should employ a combination of on-premises and cloud-based security to protect against a range of threats. Data processed at the end of the network from devices, such as wearables, is constantly expanding the attack surface, so organisations must be rigorous to safeguard vital applications.
The threats are higher than ever before and critical industries such as utilities are becoming irresistible targets for ambitious cybercriminals. Hacker motives range from stealing data and crippling businesses to exploit citizens’ data and cause reputation damage to organisations.
Moving ahead, government and industry must prioritise and collaborate to protect our infrastructure. A risk-based approach is essential. This includes collaborating with IT vendors and penetration testers to identify vulnerabilities open to exploitation and determine the appropriate mitigation methods. The margins for error are diminishing fast. More than ever before, consumers and citizens will only trust compliant, data-savvy organisations capable of running fast, smart, and safe applications.