by Bill Carey, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Siber Systems Inc.
With the holidays firmly in the rearview mirror and 2016 now fully underway, business leaders are taking stock of the year just passed and adjusting strategies for the coming months. One priority for many businesses is strengthening their information security posture.
It’s no mystery why cyber security is top of mind: As CNN Money noted, today’s hackers are “faster, sneakier and more creative” than ever before. And just as the tech boom has resulted in a profusion of new apps and digital solutions, this is a golden age for malware as well, with almost a million new threats emerging daily, according to the CNN Money article.
So what were the top three security takeaways for 2015? And more importantly, what can business owners and managers do about them? Here’s an overview:
1. Hacking remains a grave threat.
As headlines emphasized again and again in 2015, the hacking of consumer and employee information is now a commonplace occurrence. That will certainly continue into 2016 and beyond. Last year, tens of millions of people were affected by hacking at major corporations, small businesses and government agencies, including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Industry observers expect the trend to continue and even accelerate as hackers get more sophisticated.
2. BYOD is the new reality.
The bring your own device (BYOD) trend, in which employees use their personal tablets and smartphones for business, is no longer really up for debate; it’s the new reality in most workplaces worldwide. The trend will continue to grow as millennials become the dominant workplace demographic. Millennials are uniquely attached to their devices and crave the latest technology to such an extent that they sometimes rank job offers according to BYOD policies, according to a Gartner report.
3. Biometrics solutions aren’t a magic bullet.
Biometric security solutions like fingerprint IDs and retina scanners made some inroads in 2015, but adoption continues to lag behind early expectations. When they first arrived on the scene decades ago, biometrics solutions were widely expected to make passwords obsolete. However, the expense associated with implementation, lack of flexibility (users can change a password but not a fingerprint!) and newly discovered vulnerabilities like HD photos enabling access via retina scans, will keep passwords firmly in the mix for years to come.
The top three information security takeaways from 2015 will almost certainly remain relevant in 2016 and beyond. One thing all three have in common is that each scenario can be improved by using stronger passwords and better password management practices, which include using a unique password for each site, changing it every 30 to 60 days and always using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Company leaders and employees who follow these practices can thwart hackers, manage mobile devices and secure their information without relying solely on expensive, inflexible biometrics systems. A good password management solution can make managing multiple passwords a breeze, but whether they choose to go it alone or use a password manager, business owners should make information security a priority in 2016 — and every year.
Bill Carey is Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Siber Systems Inc., which offers the top-rated RoboForm Password Manager solution. Find out more about RoboForm at http://www.roboform.com/.