2016 has been here for a while now, and so have some of the hottest topics in technology. Some of the very well-established, but still sizzling and ever-so-rapidly evolving trends include cloud storage, big data and Internet of Things (IoT).
While developments in these technologies are undeniably opening up more and more opportunities for all of us, they are also increasingly making us vulnerable as new security challenges come to the fore.
Cloud computing is great for accessing files on the go and collaborative working. However, it does have some drawbacks too. If you keep data on the cloud, you pass responsibility for its safe storage to someone else. The danger is that the data becomes accidentally – or not – deleted, damaged or hacked. Free storage may also mean that the provider is finding ways of monetising you in other ways (e.g. through targeted advertising) in order to pay for your usage of the service.
It is now almost impossible not to be involved in a big data project one way or another. While big data provides humanity with opportunities for analytics greater than ever before, it also leads to us feeling under constant surveillance. This is not only for (seemingly innocent) marketing or research purposes, but also for governments who are becoming increasingly intrusive. The big question here is ‘can we be sure?’ – that the data that is kept about us is safe from leakage and inaccessible to criminals; that it is processed according to regulations, or what it was collected for and by whom it was collected? These questions are as valid to individuals, as they are to institutions and governments holding the data who want not only to avoid pricey court battles, but also to avoid being exposed, especially in the current unstable world of international relations.
Is your washing machine eavesdropping on you? As silly as it may sound, this has now become the reality of smart homes. As more and more devices are fitted with sensors, this connectivity exposes us to risks we are simply not used to in the cosy safety and security of our homes. While some people may be trying to hack your washing machine or heating for fun, others may want to do it with a much more malicious objective in mind.
As with all new technologies, security is the major concern that unites their users globally. The technology world is responding by increasing spending on security (with a predicted sum of $101 billion globally by 2018) and improving education and training. Also, much needed legislation tackling digital abuse is being drawn up in countries around the world.
While security is a major threat of new technologies, addressing these issues is also a major focus of technological advancement in the following years – the future is bright!