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Cyber-threats in a world of change

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Kathy Gibson reports from MyWorld of Tomorrow – The world is changing at the speed of light – there are fundamental changes in the way we live, work and play.

“This is the change of an era,” says Ramses Gallego, security strategist and evangelist at Dell Software. “Some call it the perfect storm, some call it the nexus of forces. We should call it business.”

Gandhi said the future depends on what we do today. “This is very powerful,” Gallego says.

But when did security become cyber-security he asks. “The point is that we didn’t’ see it coming. But you have to have conversations about it.”

Cyber-security is huge, he adds, with governments attacking governments, governments attacking companies, companies attacking people – and so on. And the threats are expanding as new devices proliferate.

“The second constant in the universe – after the speed of light – is that change is a constant. Whatever the future was going to look like, it is changing.”

Technology, however, is not the problem when it comes to security. “Cyber-security is an attitude, a willingness to protect and defend.”

The changing world of mobility and cloud computing means that companies can no longer ring-fence their systems – because the systems are travelling everywhere in the pockets of employees and customers, and they can download apps and data from anywhere.

“We didn’t see this coming,” Gallego says. “However, we believe that cloud and mobility are just new chapters in the IT world. The questions remain the same: who had access to what and for how long?”

We are living in the now, Gallego explains. People communicate and want responses instantly.

Charles Darwin said it’s the most adaptable that will survive – and this is still relevant today, he adds. Companies need to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and customer needs quickly

“How adaptable and flexible are you? What technologies are you deploying to become adaptable?” Gallego asks. “Whatever you do, it has be business focused, process driven and produce results.”

In this respect, security is a competitive advantage – particularly as we enter the Internet of Things era. “As more things and more devices are going to connected, if you don’t ask the right questions, it could be the Internet of trouble; or the Internet of threats.”

We live in an era where cyber-security has become a very real concern, Gallego says. Even government have cyber-security strategies now, and US President Barack Obama spent some time on the topic in this year’s State of the Union address.

“Cyber space has been officially declared as the fifth domain of war – they are sea, air, land, space and cyberspace. We didn’t see that coming.

“The next Pearl Harbour or 9/11 will happen in the cyber world – or maybe it is already happening.”

Organisations and even individuals tend to downplay the effects of cyber-threats, but Gallego points out that virtual is still real – and, although it doesn’t happen in the physical world, there are still physical implications.

The technology is available to protect systems and people in the new world of cyber-threats, he explains. What companies need to do is recognise the changing threats, change their thinking about security, and embrace the solutions that are available.