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Three Cybersecurity Predictions for 2018

With 2018 just around the corner, there are a lot of predictions about where cybersecurity is headed in the new year. For some deeper Insight on the subject, Inside Counsel sat down with the founder and CEO of PreVeil, Randy Battat, who shared his top three predictions for cybersecurity in 2018. Next year will be the year that employees rise up and demand their data be protected, according to Battat. At first, cybersecurity was the domain of IT, then it migrated to the board of directors, where it became part of the fiduciary duty to protect the company. But in the new year, business users will become fed up with the attacks and will demand that their companies do a better job of protecting their data. Historically, IT people were the ones lying awake at night worrying about data. Given the massive data breaches every day, it’s not just the IT people who are worried. Pretty much everyone in an organization is now concerned about the protection of its data. “Before the massive data breaches of the past couple of years, security was important, but it wasn’t a focus of the boards of directors of companies,” he explained. “There’s a cottage industry today of consultants working with boards of directors to assess and improve the security of companies’ data. Breaches have huge economic impact, so it’s only natural that security has entered the boardroom.” According to Battat, in 2018, encryption will finally become usable. Encryption used to be just for the most sensitive data. The technology improved so that encryption could be used with PCs, but it wasn't used because it was just too cumbersome. Then, 2017 saw encryption migrating to a handful of apps like WhatsApp. But in 2018, encryption will become so easy to use and so prevalent that it will be incorporated into everyday business apps like email and file sharing. “It’s not the encryption technology itself that has improved; it’s the techniques to make it usable,” he said. “PreVeil automatically and transparently handles key distribution and encryption functions and works with everyday apps like email, and file storage and sharing.” In 2018, system admins will be outed as a central point of attack. According to Battat, the dirty little secret in IT is that every system has administrators, and these admins have broad privileges to access data. Compromising an admin is an effective way to compromise an organization’s data, and this vulnerability has been exploited in some of the biggest breaches to date. Moving into the new year, companies will start to address this vulnerability head-on. “Compromising any admin can compromise an entire organization,” Battat explained. “Thus, admins are a central point of attack--a single place to focus to cause the maximum damage. Some of the biggest breaches were associated with users that have admin capabilities. For example, Snowden was an admin and the Deloitte breach occurred because an attacker got an admin password.” So, how will companies start to address this vulnerability head-on in 2018? According to Battat, products like PreVeil avoid a central point of attack. For example, a single admin can’t get at the data for all users. Instead, it takes a group of admins--not unlike how nuclear launch keys work--to get access to the data of a whole organization. Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Freelance Journalist for Corporate Counsel and InsideCounsel, where she covers intellectual property, legal technology, patent litigation, cybersecurity, innovation, and more.