The development of cyber risks: What lies ahead?

As we look to the near future, we see a world where people use technology even more than today. As the everyone-to-everyone at any place or time economy comes closer, where do cyber risks fit into the picture?

The answer depends on how seriously the business community views the cyber threat. In a worst-case scenario, cyber attacks could cause catastrophic damage. Imagine a major company going out of business or a city grinding to a halt. We have yet to see an attack succeed on that scale but it could happen. We have only seen some of the chaos hackers can spread. And as time passes, the threat will grow worse.

In the future, major risks are likely to stem from interconnectedness, with growing ecosystems, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud storage etc. The growth in interconnected devices has a dynamism all of its own. That makes it hard to measure accurately the scope for a cyber incident. If there is one suspect device in a network, it can cause a ripple effect.

Moreover, as new products come onto the market, the number of dated items of software and hardware will inevitably increase. This becomes a problem when hackers find a way to compromise the systems after the producers have stopped supporting them.

Human error may also be a feature if more emphasis is not placed on training employees properly. They will need training focused on countering risks, even if that may not normally be one of the main parts of a company's training programme. At the same time, many companies also see the growth in cognitive computing as a risk-exacerbating factor in the future.

The upshot is that cyber risks will feature more in tomorrow’s marketplace than they do now. That will make rigorous cyber resilience even more of a priority, or indeed a necessity.

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