How to Turn Security Threats Into Innovation Opportunities

Your data is at risk. As technology has evolved, so has the potential for cyber attacks, data breaches, and malicious code.

Infosecurity Magazine reported that in the first six months of 2017, traffic to F-Secure Labs’ cyber attack detection systems increased by 223%. That means cyber attacks are launching thick and fast, and they’re only going to get more sophisticated as the amount of accessible data grows and the number of access points increases.

Everyone is looking for ways to effectively address the new threat potential, from Europe’s new GDPR regulations designed to give individuals greater control over their personal information to state-specific initiatives aiming to improve government security practices, restrict public disclosure of information and target cyber crime. Even Google is jumping on board by launching a new initiative in July 2018 that will clearly mark all sites without a SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate as “not secure.”

But there’s good news too. As hackers use new technology to their advantage, similar innovations in AI, machine learning, and data processing can help your company defend against malicious attacks. In order to plan an effective strategy, you’ll need to know:

Why we’re seeing more security threats than we used to.

1) How to use technology innovation to combat them.

2) Let’s start with the first point.

Why Cyber Threats Are On The Rise

The explosion of data and the devices we use to access it have created a cyber playground for hackers. Every “node” or access point (like your smartphone, tablet, and laptop) represents an opportunity for cyber attacks. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons we’re seeing a spike in security threats:


As more employees access company data on their own devices, it’s more difficult for employers to control security measures the way they once did.

Cloud Infrastructure

Data stored in the cloud cannot be secured the same ways that companies used to protect data on machines locked away in a server room.

Third-Party Partners

You can’t always control the security measures taken by third-party companies who work with your data. If their security is lax, your data is at risk.


Once again, more access points mean more risk. The more devices you have connecting to the Internet, the more opportunities hackers have to access your data.  And many early-generation sensors and connected devices were built with little to no security in mind. No wonder connected surveillance cameras became the attack node for major DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.


Hackers can use AI to target their attacks toward the most vulnerable spots. They can use it to up the ante with phishing attacks, and they can also use it to design more malicious malware that can bypass security measures.

Cyber attacks themselves are evolving, too. Malware, ransomware, DDoS attacks, botnets, and even your basic phishing attack have all found ways to take advantage of technology innovation. Hackers can use automation and machine learning to launch relentless assaults on your cyber defense, find ways to circumvent protection, and take advantage of loopholes.

None of this means that innovation is bad. Quite the opposite. Innovation is essential for growing your business, working more efficiently, and outperforming the competition. It simply means that as technology evolves, security measures must evolve too.

How to Win the Race for Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is basically an arms race: can the good guys or the bad guys use technology more effectively? That’s why your company needs to understand the threat and implement increasingly sophisticated solutions to combat it. The good news is that the same innovations hackers use to break through your security measures can also help you create more effective protections for your sensitive information. Here are just a few of the ways you can use technology innovation to stay ahead:


Protecting company data from public exposure, malicious apps, and insecure use can be difficult when employees have access via their personal devices. Your security strategy can include Mobile Device Management software to help separate personal information from company data. Pair it with Network Access Control to manage who can access what information. Data loss prevention tools also monitor how and when employees access data and how they transmit it. It’s also important to keep track of the devices employees use so you can implement adequate security measures.

That said, remember that the devices employees use are often their own, and there are ramifications to forcing them to use certain software tools on them (think of cellular data usage, for example). So work with employees to create policies and implement tools that work in the real world and make sense to employees.


Artificial intelligence can be used as a weapon to compromise sensitive information, but it can also be used as a tool to protect your data, identify potential threats, and shut down attacks before they cause damage. New AI solutions can identify 85% of threats, which is triple the amount that previous models could detect. AI can detect malware in DNS traffic, identify viruses, and spot compromised accounts, all without having to be “taught” what to look for. Machine learning models detect anomalies in the system such as a spike in activity or an unauthorized device. They also use data analytics to identify threats that may be able to bypass other security controls.


Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be 20 billion IoT units in use. Each of those units presents a security risk, and since users usually have productivity goals rather than security in mind when they use their devices, companies can’t rely on security training to prevent cyber attacks. That’s where machine learning and intelligent technology come into play. These solutions can “learn” patterns of use and immediately identify suspicious activity or vulnerabilities. Because IoT devices are constantly communicating with the Internet and with other devices, you need a security solution that can monitor all of these devices in real time and take action to stop threats without the need for human intervention. AI and machine learning security measures can stop botnet attacks in their tracks, prevent unauthorized transmission of data, and monitor access to networks.

Cloud Storage

Storing data in the cloud has become the norm these days, but it brings with it some inherent security risks. Data breaches, insecure interfaces, DDoS attacks, and system vulnerabilities are just a few of the ways your data could be compromised. While it’s important to make sure any third-party providers you work with have sufficient security protocols in place, it’s also your responsibility to close the gates on your end. Implement security measures such as data encryption and carefully controlled access, but also look for tech innovations that can protect your data anywhere. Virtualization security, for example, specifically addresses the inherent security issues in a virtual environment. It provides an extra measure of control over each device and secures virtual machines and networks in the infrastructure.


Cybersecurity protocols are designed to identify threats quickly, notify your IT team if needed, and even neutralize the threats before they compromise your data. The technology innovations we’re seeing today can accomplish those goals much faster than old-school methodologies based on predefined rules or human intervention. Because smart technologies can adapt based on new information, they can respond to threats they haven’t encountered before without the need for constant oversight.

As you build your cybersecurity strategy, keep these thoughts in mind:

Today’s protocols will be obsolete tomorrow. You need a way to adapt quickly and accurately.

Hackers are infinitely creative. Your security should be too.

Once you have opened the floodgate of data with IoT or BYOD policies, you can’t close it again. That’s why you need a filter to make sure only authorized individuals and devices can gain access.

If your cybersecurity approach isn’t proactive, then your policies will hold your company back from new technologies and profit possibilities. So you need to regularly and constantly evaluate and update procedures, policies, and tools to ensure that security is keeping up with business goals.

The bottom line: all innovation comes with risk. But technology can help you manage that risk by keeping your security protocols on par with your functionality.

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