April was another eventful month in the cybersecurity world. The 2018 RSA Conference brought together thousands of security professionals from around the world, and network defence got a boost with new machine intelligence offerings. Meanwhile, C-suites struggled to see cyber risk as more than just an IT issue, and new survey data showcased the increasing gap between consumer trust and corporate data privacy policy.

Some of the biggest takeaways from the event in April included heated debates about the future of blockchain, preparing for emerging threats and the importance of collaboration in security.

Of course, no security meetup these days would be complete without a discussion of Internet of Things (IoT) security. Sessions such as “Eleventh Hour IoT Security,” featuring IBM X-Force Red team members Steve Ocepek and Krissy Safi, examined how to understand the specific challenges around IoT security and “get a handle on this brave new world of embedded devices and new protocols.”

Man and Machine

Artificial intelligence (AI) was also on display at RSAC 2018, where a movement toward “an AI-powered, data-centric model” of cybersecurity was highlighted. This collaboration between man and machine will ultimately impact every industry, and an emerging technology shift should help speed up the process.

Eighty percent of U.S. executives recognise cybersecurity as a “significant challenge” for their business. But as noted by Chris Esemplare, global vice president and general manager of IBM Security Services, 6 in 10 boards believe that while cybersecurity risk is real, it is an “IT problem.”

The problem with this “not my problem” attitude is that, as IT has become fundamental to business functioning and a key driver of return on investment (ROI), attacks against IT infrastructure can potentially cripple operations.

Cybersecurity risk is business risk. Combating the problem means developing a plan, aiming for robust rather than perfect, and cultivating a culture of top-down cyber risk responsibility.

Consumers Expect Increased Security and Privacy

As noted by a recent Harris Poll and IBM survey, public perception of data privacy isn’t stellar: Just 20 percent of U.S. consumers say they “completely trust” organisations to keep their data private. In addition, 73 percent of those surveyed said businesses focus on profits over the need to protect consumer privacy rights.

Consumer attitudes are changing along with their view of data security. For example, 75 percent of survey participants said they would not buy products from a company if data privacy was an issue. What’s more, 67 percent said companies should cover the cost of any third-party data protection after a breach, and 7 in 10 thought governments should take a more active role in data protection “given that businesses have not been able to do enough.”

Consumer privacy is no longer a luxury. Without trust, customers won’t risk handing over payment, personal or potentially compromising data.

April was a busy month for cybersecurity: AI enjoyed a speed boost, C-suites demonstrated a flawed perspective and data privacy took centre stage among consumers.

Source: IBM Security