Palo Alto Networks outlines technology predictions for 2020

Palo Alto Networks 2020 predictions are hinged from the previous years’ technology developments. The cybersecurity company discussed the interconnectedness of the ecosystem and each part’s impact on the others.

5G, cloud, data privacy, the Internet of Things, and skills gap have their own sets of wins and challenges for the year, but having a comprehensive strategy would help reduce business risks so customers can fully reap the benefits of these technologies.

“(With regard to) discussions and the developments within cybersecurity, we’re looking at the (predictions) in terms of what we think will be the real conversation areas for customers and for the public in 2020,” said Kevin O’Leary, Field Chief Security Officer, Palo Alto Networks (Asia Pacific).

5G Technology

There is a shade of skepticism on whether 5G would finally go mainstream or not. For now, only the industrial sector has the capacity to utilize the technology while there some people cast doubt if the consumer sector will be able to experience the speed and latency 5G offers. 

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Technology companies have been rolling out 5G in several developed countries such as South Korea in Asia and a number of countries in Europe and North America. The lackluster response to the technology is evident with some countries refusing to completely ditch 4G, with the exception of China, according to O’Leary, “which has the resources and the will to make that happen in a way that we don’t see anywhere else in the world.”

In the Philippines, while telecommunications companies have set the stage for the 5G last year, O’Leary said the use cases will be confined to private networks such as manufacturing, in which Smart Communications also reiterated in its launches, noting that use cases are focused on enterprises and the industrial sector.

“It (5G) will make sense in the densely populated cities like Manila where there could be enough opportunity, but you wouldn’t see it necessarily in other parts of the country,” O’Leary said.

5G will still sit on the legacy of 4G for a while and the consumer market will have to depend on 4G for a little bit longer until the latest network becomes widely available.

Cloud security

Ovum’s Asia-Pacific Cloud Security Study, a research commissioned by Palo Alto Networks, found that 80% or large organizations view security and privacy as key challenges in cloud adoption. This, even with 70% of the respondents believe that the security cloud vendors provide is sufficient.

Data breaches have become pervasive the past few years which raised enormous concern on the reliability of the cloud environment. However, digital transformation requires cloud migration.

“The move into the cloud will continue with companies putting their workloads into the cloud either by choice or being forced by providers,” O’Leary said. “For example, if you look at Microsoft and other providers, they’re basically killing off all of their on-prem (on-premise) services and moving stuff into the cloud because it’s better for them.”

Microsoft’s Office 365, as well as Google Suite, which many enterprises are using now are all in the cloud.

CIOs (chief information officers) may opt for multivendor providers depending on the needs of the companies. Providers are taking different levels of approach in terms of assuring customers of cloud security. Some are building on-shore data centers hoping that this variation of “on-premise” data center would reduce data breach incidences.

“Companies need to look very carefully in terms of how they’re managing this movement to the cloud and how they’re dealing with that complexity and making choices in cybersecurity that run across that and leverage things like automation, AI and machine learning.”

O’Leary said companies should “have a strategy, understand the infrastructure, and follow through on that, and then go back again.”

Internet of Things

“I think the issues with IoT is just how pervasive it’s becoming,” O’Leary said. “IoT has become an ecosystem within itself.”

For IoT to become more effective, an enormous amount of data is collected and processed, which then turns it into a “minefield” for cybercriminals. For I

The company sees that this year, attack modes would come from unsecured apps or weak log-in credentials. The more devices, the more passwords required. The number of devices that need log-ins, the more users would resort to recycling usernames and passwords.

The questions of who should be responsible for securing these devices is still unclear. Should the responsibility fall on the vendors or the consumers? People should expect frequent software updates compared to before to ensure that vulnerabilities are properly — and regularly — addressed.

Data Privacy

Recent data breaches, high-profile or otherwise, have increased the level of data privacy awareness among consumers. As the Internet Society’s survey on Policy Issues suggests, 70% of respondents want to have control over (their) data and personal information usage. Consumers have lost the discretion of how to provide their data to companies when organizations decided to undergo digital transformation. As a result, transactions are done online and these details are somewhere over the cloud ready for the picking of hackers.

Having on-shore data centers does not effectively address the issue of data privacy. “Cyberthreats do not respect national borders.”

Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Technical skills will still definitely matter in terms of technology jobs. However, in the area of cybersecurity, companies must also look into the soft skills of IT professionals.

Palo Alto Networks shared the latest research which states that there are over 2 million cybersecurity shortages in the Asia Pacific. O’Leary said companies should not limit their recruitment requirements with cybersecurity or information security aptitude but also in other areas of emotional intelligence. Skills can be taught and learned, but innate problem-solving or quick-thinking may be difficult to find.

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