ISF report identifies five trends shaping IT security threats

The trends, says the report, are based on knowledge and information available to the Information Security Forum's membership and includes cyber-insecurity; an open knowledge society; the evolving internet; the smart enterprise; and the consumerisation of IT.

On the cyber insecurity front, the forum says that governments will soon take a more pro-active role in cyberspace.

Whilst many of the initiatives will be beneficial, the study reasons, organisations need to take account of legislation and regulation that mandates procedures and behaviours in cyberspace - much of which may be disjointed - along with an increase in cyber-defence activities.

Against this backdrop, questions the report, how will organisations cope?

On the topic of an open knowledge society, the report says that participation and innovation thrive, but organisations are being left struggling to strike a balance between transparency and confidentiality.

And, asks the study, what will organisations' trust models look like by 2013 - and how will they promote transparency without losing valuable information to the public domain?

The third topic, the evolving internet, is compared to the `flat earth' approach to world geography that existed until Pythagoras postulated a spherical earth in the sixth century.

In the case of the internet, however, the timescales are greatly compressed and this changing security landscape is an issue that appears to be shaping the nature of internet threats.

As the ISF report notes, there have been host of new entrants, many from the developing world, to the internet. As a result, the report questions how business models will adapt to these new mass markets.

On the topic of the smart enterprise, meanwhile, the report focuses on how the need to boost efficiency and optimise the use of assets will continue driving organisations to make greater use of cloud computing, smart sourcing and smart technologies.

The study questions how firms will make best use of these without increasing complexity and cost downstream.

The fifth issue that is shaping the nature of security threats - consumerisation of technology - means there is a growing need to manage the use of such technology at work.

As a result, says the ISF study, adopting a stance that completely prohibits such an approach is unlikely to be successful. In addition, questions the report, how can organisations manage the risks and lock in the benefits.

Commenting on the report, Steve Durbin, the ISF's global vice president, said that the global environment in which information security threats emerge is constantly changing.

"As an independent body able to draw on the broad expertise of our global members, we can not only identify the emerging threats with some certainty but also turn this knowledge into business-focused, practical guidance on what to do about them", he noted.

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