Recently, we gathered top security experts — IBM Resilient chief technology officer Bruce Schneier, ESG Research senior principal analyst Jon Oltsik, IBM Resilient vice president of product management Ted Julian and IBM Resilient program director of cybersecurity and privacy Gant Redmon — to discuss major security trends from 2017 and their predictions for where the security industry is headed in 2018.

Here are the four top trends and predictions these experts shared in our newest webinar:

1. Adoption of Orchestration and Automation Tools Will Accelerate

In 2018, the rapid adoption of incident response orchestration and automation technologies will continue to be a top priority.

Automation will garner attention as organizations seek quick efficiencies. But to gain long-term benefits, security teams will take the time to understand the full response process in order to orchestrate across the entire incident lifecycle. As Julian said in the webinar, “Advanced organizations will make orchestration part of their security budgets for the first time in 2018 and will be able to apply orchestration more broadly.”

Additionally, the skills shortage will remain a challenge, so teams need to make workflows more efficient and easier for analysts. Turning to expert organizations for help will become a big trend.

2. More Regulations Will Force a Bigger Focus on Privacy

The bar is rising for privacy professionals in 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made headlines in 2017 and will be a priority throughout 2018. But according to Redmon, GDPR is not the only regulation to worry about this year; more regulations with similar consequences are coming, such as the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive). Europe championed these regulations last year and will continue to be the leader in 2018.

Improved education and security habits will be a major privacy trend for next year. Proving to regulators that organizations have adequate security will be more critical — and more difficult — than ever due to the learning curve of the new regulations.

3. AI Will Become More Entrenched in Incident Response

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a popular buzzword in recent years. But our panel of experts agreed that AI will gain traction across the security field in 2018, helping analysts glean actionable intelligence from data faster than ever. AI will become an additive component to orchestration and automation and will be leveraged more in organizations’ response processes. Security teams will be able to leverage AI to spoon-feed valuable insights to analysts, making them smarter and more efficient while driving intelligent orchestration and acting as a “force accelerator” for security teams.

However, hackers will use AI to get more sophisticated as well. Some advanced attackers have already begun to leverage it to evolve their attacks quicker than security teams can keep up. Because of the obvious advantage, hackers will surely continue to leverage AI in 2018.

4. Combined Ransomware and IoT Attacks Will Emerge as Security Trends

Sophisticated cybercriminals will find ways to carry out more complex cyberattacks in 2018. In particular, security teams will see more combined ransomware and Internet of Things (IoT) attacks — especially for mission-critical connected devices, such as healthcare devices or industrial equipment.

Consumers will also continue to be on the front lines of IoT attacks, with hackers expected to target connected devices like refrigerators or cars. Since consumers do not replace these items as rapidly as items like smartphones, they are wrought with vulnerabilities, allowing IoT attacks to be even more pervasive. And with devices like pacemakers and cars being connected, IoT attacks pose potentially deadly consequences. As Schenier notes, “In 2018, we are going to see real IoT attacks, and one that is big enough to make the news.”

Watch the complete webinar: Cyber Security in 2017 and the Year Ahead — The Fifth Annual Year-in-Review and Predictions Webinar

Notice: Clients are responsible for ensuring their own compliance with various laws and regulations, including GDPR. IBM does not provide legal advice and does not represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that clients are in compliance with any law or regulation. Learn more about IBM’s own GDPR readiness journey and our GDPR capabilities and offerings to support your compliance journey here.

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