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Stay protected: Top 5 cybersecurity predictions for 2019

As we get ready to close the books on 2018, it’s time to look ahead to new ways of working in 2019.

Predictions are tough, but even more so in the chaotic world of cybersecurity. There were 1.7 billion ransomware attacks detected globally in 2018. Out of these, 2.4 million were in the UAE, followed by Kuwait and Bahrain with 1.9 million and 1.2 million respectively.

Nation-state threat hackers will continue to carry out attacks in the region using more sophisticated techniques than ever before. There is no slowing down next year.

(Sevi Tufekci, Director, Sales Engineering Emerging Markets, EMEA at Citrix)

Sevi Tüfekçi, one of Citrix’s top female leaders and Director of Sales Engineering, Emerging Markets, EMEA has outlined her top cybersecurity 2019 predictions that organizations in the region need to watch out for:

#1 – Manage compartmentalisation for continuous compliance

“Compliance is a hard road, and organisations are right to be proud of their achievements. In 2019, we will see more businesses parade their compliance for marketing purposes. Compliance will then be a business priority that goes beyond governance. To maintain compliance, some organisations will be tempted to enforce stringent internal restrictions on corporate information, for employees, partners and suppliers. But this kind of compartmentalisation must be planned and managed thoughtfully, to avoid barriers to efficient business operations. For compliance and risk management, take advantage of any business process redesign, to ensure boundaries are in the right places for compliance and risk management – but only in the right places.

READ: EY: 87% of organizations operate with limited cybersecurity

#2 – For effective contingency planning, don’t follow the crowd  

“With the threat of the first GDPR fines looming over all organisations, enterprises will place more emphasis on contingency planning. Certainly, no-one wants to be blamed for a foreseeable cyberattack. But this means focusing on the specific threats your business is facing. Don’t get fixated on what is being talked about externally – even the threat has a catchy name and a fancy logo. Keep managing what matters, and invest security resources accordingly.  Do have a flexible contingency plan for the unexpected, and test it before you need it.

#3 – Watch out for attacks under pressure

“In the year ahead, cybercriminals will regroup and focus.  We have already seen attackers concentrate on particular sectors, and individual organisations. Cybercriminals will circle around an organisation or industry that is under pressure – this pressure could be anything from aging IT infrastructure to widely-publicised financial woes. They will use the opportunity to launch obvious attacks, intended as a distraction to an already overworked IT team. Meanwhile, a more stealthy attack is underway to steal the real assets. Whether you are a public sector organisation suffering from recent funding cuts, or a retail giant with an abundance of customer data stored in outdated legacy systems, cybercriminals will aim to do as much damage as possible whilst your company is reacting. Whatever the pressure, monitor and protect your core assets.”

READ: The 5 most notable privileged data breaches of 2018

#4 – Understand the business need for internal surveillance

“Internal surveillance and monitoring will be a standard contingency measure in the year ahead. The more you monitor, the more likely you are to spot a potential problem in its early stages. But organisations must frame the problem they are trying to solve and ask themselves: will internal surveillance solve this issue? For example, are you mainly concerned about viruses spreading across your network? You can then determine what data to monitor, how to apply security analytics to highlight problems, and then how administrators should react. Don’t collect information that you will not act on; it is a waste of resources.  “Big data” does not mean “all data”.

#5 – Your company is only as strong as its weakest link, so don’t overlook your suppliers

“Previous cyber attacks have demonstrated that the supply chain can be the weakest link for a significant number of organisations. Security due diligence must be planned into the procurement process, when integrating a new provider. This is not a box-ticking exercise.  It means active security risk management. Ask yourself: has my business ever rejected a supplier on the basis of audit findings? If you don’t manage the supplier security risk, cybercriminals will; they will use your suppliers as a stepping stone to gain access to their ultimate target – your business.”

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