#1 Cybersecurity lockdown
2015 Predictions Update
AcceleratingBiz Team, January 5, 2016

In the 2015 Predictions report, Cybersecurity lockdown was the number one ranked accelerator, with pundits forecasting an onslaught of attacks giving rise to new types of security measures, stricter government regulations, and expensive cyberinsurance. After a tumultuous year, cybersecurity has proven to be just as disruptive a threat as anticipated, deeply affecting government agencies, companies, and individuals.

Indeed, high-profile attacks in 2015 captured global headlines, including China’s alleged hack of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, online currency theft at Irish Airline Ryanair, and the publication of 30 million users’ account information from adult networking site Ashley Madison. The Ashley Madison hack in particular has made cybersecurity more personal than ever, bringing the challenges of online privacy to the forefront of consumers’ minds. The healthcare industry emerged as a leading target for attacks due to the confluence of customer data and underfunded, outdated IT security systems. The industry as a whole experienced 340 percent more security incidents than other industries, while the top five breaches alone resulted in over 100 million records lost.

AcceleratingBiz Question How certain are you that your critical internal and customer information is protected? Do you have disaster and communications plans in place to address a serious cybersecurity incident?

The breadth and pace of these attacks have business leaders concerned about significant liabilities or even business failures. While aggregate numbers on cybersecurity spending aren’t yet available, trends are clearly upward. J.P. Morgan Chase, a victim of a hack in 2014, recently announced that their cybersecurity budget would double this year, and double again over the next five years. More and more cybersecurity-focused startup companies have jumped into the market to capitalize on increased demand. Cybersecurity startups raised $1.2 billion in venture funding in the first half of 2015, compared to $1.9 billion in all of 2014. In addition to new technologies, companies are rolling out cybersecurity education programs which target some of the weakest points in any security system – the users. They’re investing time and money teaching employees to spot phishing attacks, avoid unknown flash drives and discs, properly control software admin rights, and avoid dangerous links.

AcceleratingBiz Question Have you fostered an organizational culture that is aware and protective of strategic information?

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015, recently signed into law by President Obama, gives network operators more leeway to monitor their networks and protect themselves and their users from cyber attacks. Theoretically, companies may now have a much greater ability to monitor their employees to prevent the theft or distribution of sensitive information. The exact legal boundaries of the Cybersecurity Act remain somewhat unclear, but companies will no doubt test the limits as they seek to lock down mission-critical data. Perhaps most worryingly, industry insiders are nearly unanimous in expecting attacks to increase in 2016, creating continued urgency in the war to secure information.

AcceleratingBiz Question Is your business taking a proactive active approach to protecting critical internal and customer information?

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