Cyber Security: What’s the Big Deal about It?

The dawn of the 20th century, as countries transitioned from industrial manufacturing to production based on information, saw the birth of the information age. The evolution of information technology got accelerated with the emergence of modern-day computers in the latter half of the 20th century and finally culminated with the advent of the internet as the turn of the century. The internet enabled transmission of information at a rapid pace from one corner of the world to another.

Today, a large mass of the human population is hooked to the internet. Those with access to internet almost continuously online: uploading or downloading stuff, transacting or trading on various platforms, scrolling through social media feeds, watching or reading news reports, and streaming visual content. In the process, huge amounts of data are being generated on a daily basis, with majority of the people having some form of a digital footprint on the internet. While our lives have certainly gotten easier because of the internet, the flip side to this is that we have also gotten more exposed and susceptible to criminal activities. The dangers posed by digital crimes have given rise to a concept known as “cyber security” and to a thriving market along with it. The global cyber security industry stood at USD 112.01 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 281.74 billion by 2027, surging at a CAGR of 12.6%. Given the massive size and wide scope of this technology, it would be worth looking into some of the most recent developments in the field. But before we delve into them, let us first try to understand why the need for cyber security has aggravated in the past few years.

Cyber Security: What’s the Big Deal about It?

Over the years, criminals have gotten more sophisticated and the internet, coupled with advanced information & communication technology (ICT) tools, has expanded the scope of these activities exponentially. With easy access to wide varieties of data, the frequency and complexity of cybercrimes has increased at a significant rate. According to a United Nations (UN) report on cybercrime, hackers are placing attacks on computers and networks at a near-constant rate, averaging around one attack every 39 seconds. Aside from compromising data privacy, cybercrimes carry a hefty economic cost as well. For instance, the same UN report postulates that cybercrimes cost the world approximately USD 600 billion in 2018, affecting nearly 67% of the world’s internet users. An even more worrying trend observed in some of the recent cyber-attacks was the disruption caused to essential services in some countries. The WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017 crippled the operations of the UK’s National Health Service and stalled activities of some of the Russian government’s ministries and departments. Cybercrime, therefore, is a constant, looming threat and needs to be dealt with adeptly. Tech companies are working continuously to provide comprehensive solutions to the business world to counter the growing menace of crimes of such nature. Let’s take a look at some of the key industry developments.

Cisco Makes Available Its Cloud Cyber Security Solution

In June 2020, Cisco announced that its integrated cloud-based cyber security platform, SecureX, will be generally globally from the end of the month. With accelerated pace of enterprise digitization, Cisco’s SecureX aims at enabling organizations to efficiently perform business processes and ensure data security simultaneously. Simplifying enterprise security management, the product is engineered to meet and address cyber-threats promptly, automate workflows, and create a secure remote working environment. As the work from home trend gathers momentum worldwide, Cisco expects to see increasing adoption of its platform.

ElevenPaths and Fortinet Expand Cyber Security Partnership

Fortinet, the California-based cyber security specialist, and ElevenPaths, the cyber security arm of Telefonica Tech based in Spain, announced in June 2020 that they will be expanding their partnership to develop and offer next-gen managed security services to end-users. Focusing on customers from the industrial sector, the two entities will be providing solutions for their Internet of Things (IoT), information technology (IT), and operation technology (OT) environments. Under the collaboration, ElevenPaths will be able to access Fortinet’s Security Fabric solutions designed for industrial control systems to cater to the surging demand from organizations for protection of their IT and OT environments.

KPMG Offers Enhanced Cyber Defense Capabilities to Organizations

KPMG International released an advanced cyber security offering for enterprises in February 2020. Leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Azure Sentinel, the innovative solution is devised to improve security monitoring and incidence response among businesses. KPMG has designed the cyber defense offering by combining Azure’s superior cyber security capacity with KPMG’s own industry experience to deliver customized security ecosystems to organizations according to their needs. With the launch of this solution, KPMG aims at deepening ties with Microsoft and expand their collaboration in the related fields of cloud security and data governance.

Coronavirus and the Unprecedented Spike in Cyber Attacks

While the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers are busy infiltrating and extracting critical data. In April 2020, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 450 of its active emails and passwords were leaked online along with numerous others associated with the coronavirus. In India, according to K7 Computing, a cyber-security company, COVID-related cyber-attacks spiked by 260% across the country in the form of fake Android apps and phishing emails. As the pandemic has forced social distancing worldwide, work from home has suddenly become the norm across most organizations. Unfortunately, the home-office environment also suffers from heightened vulnerability to cyber-attacks. For example, companies extensively utilize virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure data security. However, with people working remotely, companies have had to extend these networks to their employees outside the company premises, exposing them to hackers in the process. The need for efficient cyber-security has never been more greatly felt than now, when the coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the globe.

Will Cyber Crimes Remain a Perpetual Threat?

Information is the currency of the modern world and as internet usage continues to expand, virtual crimes are unlikely to cease in the foreseeable future. But does that mean one stops browsing the internet? Absolutely not! Besides being a source of entertainment and fun, the internet is playing a pivotal role in connecting people culturally, economically, and politically. Businesses around the world are leveraging the internet to expand and diversify and it is these activities that are taking the world forward. What are required, therefore, are strong national policy frameworks governing cyberspace and many countries today have cyber security laws in place. Stringent implementation of these regulations will be crucial to deter the seemingly perpetual threat of cyber-crimes.  

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