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Guest View: Cybersecurity in 2014

Kelly Brazil, Director of Systems Engineering, Asia Pacific, Palo Alto Networks | Dec. 13, 2013
Palo Alto Networks’ cybersecurity, threat landscape, firewall and mobile security predictions for 2014

10.   Cyber lockers and cloud-based file sharing will continue to grow, despite the risks. Palo Alto Networks has been watching browser-based file sharing applications since 2008, when it identified a pool of roughly 10 variants in this group. As of this year, Palo Alto Networks is tracking more than 100 variants, and according to its research an average of 13 of these applications are found on networks it analyses. In many cases, there is no business use case for this many variants. While there is business value for some of these applications they do present business and security risks if they're used too casually. The risks will continue to escalate as vendors try to broaden their appeal to users and differentiate themselves by adding premium, always-on, always-synched features.

11.   The mobile OS ecosystem is too big for patchwork protection. The mobile ecosystem is much more complicated and far-reaching than Windows. Too much of what's being described as mobile security is based on buying add-ons for different devices running different operating systems - a scattershot model doomed to fail. Rather than focus on securing individual devices, organisations need to look for security solutions that extend next-generation firewall policies across the full range of mobility use cases, independent of OS.

12.   Mobile security issues turn security admins' attention outside the firewall. Still too many mobile security solutions protect a user's mobile device while they're behind the corporate firewall but don't enforce mobile security policy when users are outside it. Facebook was hacked earlier this year, for example, when employees connected to a mobile developer's compromised website, downloaded malware and then introduced it to Facebook's internal servers when they were back behind the firewall. Expect to hear similar stories in 2014, and hopefully a shifting debate on how to solve these challenges.

13.   "Lock it down" just won't play. Many organisations still take a "lock it down" approach to mobile security and have put policies into effect that are so strict they eliminate the productivity and flexibility benefits of BYOD. The mushrooming popularity of smartphones and tablets in Singapore and the wider region means that users will find a way to use them on networks whether admins like it or not. In 2014, a majority of organisations will finally turn away from the "lock it down" approach in favour of a mobile security model that gives users some breathing room while preserving the secure enterprise network.


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