Top Threats to Business Data in 2015

December 10, 2014

2015 is shaping up to be an important year for the Internet of Things, but what challenges lie ahead for businesses?

Around 1,000 delegates at the NexGen Cloud Conference in San Diego last week heard Tony Anscombe give some valuable insight into the partner opportunity for the Internet of Things.  The good news for our service provider partners is the opportunity is huge. Our recent Monetization of IoT study shows that around three fifths (62 percent) of small businesses has budget specifically assigned over the next 12 months for the development of IoT solutions.

On this evidence 2015 is shaping up to be an important year for IoT investment.  Engaging with IT providers on NextGen Cloud matters is just one component of what’s to come. The other part concerns the immediate future for their small business customers and the ever changing threat landscape.

With that in mind, here are my top threats to watch for in 2015:-

More ransomware

The latter part of 2013 was notable for a spate of ransomware attacks on small businesses. This has continued in 2014 and we are likely to see more instances in 2015. Ransomware, like the infamous CryptoLocker, encrypts or locks personal files on your machine and extorts a ransom to recover them.  To avoid falling victim, businesses should use reputable antivirus software, avoid risky downloads, educate staff and keep security software/operating systems regularly patched and updated.


Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

Cybercriminals are increasingly focusing their attacks on small businesses.  APTs are a relatively new class of malware developed by cybercriminals to steal passwords, logins and customer data.  They are purposely designed to gain a foothold in the business and remain there undetected for a prolonged period of time.  To counter this businesses require an equally sophisticated approach to defense that includes protection from risks in mobile communications and Cloud services as well as traditional networks.


Password-related breaches

As Cloud services and the Internet of Things become part of everyday business life password management is going to become a hot issue.  We saw a good example of this in the news last month where streaming images from thousands webcams and CCTVs around the world ended up on a Russian website simply because they had default passwords or no log-in codes at all.   Many of the images were taken from business CCTV equipment.  Until companies learn to manage their passwords efficiently we can expect to see a lot more of this kind of incidents.


Mobile threats

Not so long ago it was probably quite natural for your Apple®-loving colleagues to congratulate themselves for using the relatively threat-free Macintosh platform. But the tide is turning.  The prevalence of iPad® and iPhone® mobile devices in the office has turned the Apple operating system into a prime target. Last month we saw reports of a new combination of malware that infects Apple’s OS®X and iOS® mobile devices called the OSX/WireLurker Trojan.  Android™ too is subject to attack. You may have seen recent news reports about a new variant of Android malware called NotCompatible that uses spam email blasts and compromised websites to infiltrate secure company networks.


In summary, the outlook for business security threats is one of increasing diversity.  At the same time more IoT devices and Cloud services are coming on stream. Our study strongly indicates that small businesses are ready to spend on ways to simplify how things are kept up to date, secure and monitored in 2015.

iPhone®, iPad® and Apple® are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the United States and other countries.
Android™ is a trademark of Google Inc.

Mike Foreman
December 10, 2014