Red security key on a computer keyboard with clipping path around the coloured key

Well, we’re already a month into 2016, a year that promises to bring exciting advancements and changes in audio visual technology and collaboration systems. Unfortunately, one thing that never seems to change is cyber security and the very real possibility of a breach. Digital threats continue to soar worldwide and security concerns remain the top priority of most IT departments.

Though executives across the globe continue tightening security as technology evolves, there are some clear takeaways from last year that may change the way we think about this technology. Security concerns aren’t new to 2016, but the way we prioritize them has changed. Let’s take a look back at what we can expect in the future.

Primary Security Concerns Continue to Rise

IT professionals across the U.S., U.K., Hong Kong and Singapore are making security even more of a priority this year than it was in 2015, with three out of four executives calling it “critical.” Here are the top three IT security priorities for 2015, priorities that will still be top of mind as we move into 2016:

  • The first priority is protection from and detection of Advanced Persistent Threats (or APTs).
  • Next are next generation firewalls, though there is a disconnect between executives and IT staffers on this priority. Many executives feel they have done everything possible when it comes to firewalls; IT staff feel there is often more security that could be put into place.
  • And thirdly, mobile device management is a priority on the rise in most companies. Again, this is a situation where the actual threats may not have grown, but the awareness of potential threats has increased greatly.

As technology has evolved—bringing the cloud and outsourced security systems to businesses—the threats have become a bigger concern. Perhaps the reason that security concerns are escalating is because security breach events are becoming more public. From the Blue Cross Blue Shield breach to the Ashley Madison debacle, to the VTech hack (VTech Learning Lodge and Kid Connect products allow the exchange of voice and text messages, photos, and drawings between VTech tablets and parents’ smartphones, and revealed not just account details of millions of users, but also head shots of children), those of us who deal with anything audiovisual/cloud/collaboration related understand how devastating a major attack could be.

Customer Data First, System Continuity Second, Employee Data Last

Another critical security concern was safeguarding customer information in addition to business operations. The study found that 38 percent of companies listed protecting customer data as their number one priority. Falling close behind, 22 percent of companies thought safeguarding system continuity and availability was the main priority.

Interestingly, the majority of businesses in the study were only “pretty confident” or less that their current security measures were enough to protect against breaches from cyber criminals. In fact, 1 in 4 companies felt they could be doing a lot more.

Few businesses expressed concern in protecting employee data, which is arguably just as important as customer data, with only 11 percent of businesses thinking employee data should be a top priority.

How Companies Addressed These Concerns in 2015

One rising trend over the past few years has been outsourcing operations to the cloud. The cloud has given businesses the ability to not only outsource security, but to outsource entire servers. This offers a whole host of benefits for businesses concerned with security.

Firstly, cloud servers are located away from the business, ensuring business continuity even if the primary location suffers a power outage. Secondly, the outsourced security of a cloud app allows for both consolidation and better protection – something businesses have expressed their interest in repeatedly. It seems cloud apps and next-gen firewalls are the most popular security measures now and will continue to be in the future. Hopefully, 2016 will bring more advanced features and better protection from APTs.

What Will Be the Priority for 2016?

Cyber security in 2015 made progress beyond 2014’s “year of the breach,” and though speculations about 2016 are just that, corporations are thinking about global security threats differently. As the Internet of Things continues to grow and take up a larger space in consumers’ lives, so will the threats on personal devices like phones and tablets, making security for these devices a priority. Long-term information gathering is also a concern of many businesses this year, and universities seem to have realized the need for upgraded security.

Despite these concerns, 2015 has taught us something, and businesses and corporations can learn from last year’s mistakes. By paying attention to the weaknesses that were exploited last year, businesses are instituting better security measures and taking cyber security more seriously than ever.

At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.

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