According to CenturyLink’s Australian Hybrid IT Adoption Index, more IT decision-makers are adopting the hybrid IT model to meet business goals, giving rise to several security trends that will shape 2016. The research revealed that 29 per cent of organisations cite data security concerns as the main barrier to moving IT infrastructure into a managed IT model.
Stuart Mills, regional director, ANZ, CenturyLink, said, “A hybrid IT solution can be more secure than traditional IT, since the provider works with the customer to design a security strategy that matches the business needs.”
CenturyLink expects these four security trends to shape 2016:
1. Managing employee risk
Roughly half of all corporate breaches are enabled by internal employees. These most often result from employees not following security policies, either because they don’t know them or mistakenly did something they shouldn’t have, such as clicking on a phishing email URL. To effectively manage employee risk, security measures will need to move beyond focusing on technology to realising the importance of educating employees, contractors, and partners. Key to this is implementing ongoing training which is reinforced by top leaders. Executives can’t pass the responsibility to HR or IT departments. They must lead the charge themselves in order to be most effective.
Stuart Mills said, “In addition to providing ongoing employee training, organisations should discuss their critical data requirements with their hybrid IT provider. This ensures that, if there is a breach, critical data will be protected.”
Mills recommends having several layers of controls in place, and sound policies, including having a CSO leading these efforts.
2. Managing shadow IT
The use of unauthorised devices and platforms can significantly increase the risk of data breaches, but can also make employees more efficient by giving them quick and easy access to resources. With more and more purchases being made by lines of business, IT is being managed very differently than it was a few years ago. This means IT must embrace new approaches in order to be successful. Organisations should consider provisioning cloud-based business applications for lines of business to take back control of ’shadow IT’. For example, letting any employee download the software they need from the organisation’s cloud means they are using legitimate versions of the software without slowing them down, and means that it is done in a way that minimises the security risk to the network.
3. Increased partner selectivity
Organisations will be increasingly selective when partnering with IT providers. 63 per cent of respondents to CenturyLink’s Australian Hybrid IT Adoption Index rated security as extremely important when it comes to choosing a managed services provider. 65 per cent also cited vendor reputation as important when looking at data centre colocation.
Stuart Mills said, “Companies considering a hybrid IT approach are looking for providers that can deliver a full spectrum of security products and services, and the ability to deliver comprehensive protection inside the company’s offices, in the data centre, and in the cloud.”
4. Security virtualisation
High-profile hacking incidents have demonstrated that the industry as a whole is struggling to write secure code and promptly rectify security issues. The emerging area of security virtualisation, which combines data visualisation and machine-learning algorithms, can provide predictive analysis to mitigate threats.
Stuart Mills said, “Leveraging hybrid IT and big data technologies, security virtualisation techniques monitor traffic and network patterns to identify suspicious activities and threats. This lets organisations respond with countermeasures that may be better than conventional methods.”
CenturyLink is a global communications, hosting, cloud and IT services company enabling millions of customers to transform their businesses and their lives through innovative technology solutions. CenturyLink offers network and data systems management, Big Data analytics and IT consulting, and operates more than 55 data centres in North America, Europe and Asia. The company provides broadband, voice, video, data and managed services over a robust 250,000-route-mile U.S. fibre network and a 300,000-route-mile international transport network. Visit CenturyLink for more information.