Well, another year and I am wondering what 2016 will have in store for the industry?
No doubt the headlines will be full of bigger and bolder cyber-attacks. It has already started with the DOS attack on the BBC website – supposedly a test for non-governmental strategic attacks on ISIL, but you can be sure of more criminal attacks too. What worries me most are attacks that are disruptive rather than directly financially motivated. Of course they benefit someone, somewhere, but they will have the primary effect of disruption of the function of an organisation. Slightly altering random data rather than stealing it.
Like an Advanced Persistent Threat (attacks which subtly alter user and client data), the breach may not be noticed immediately. However, can you imagine the rectification efforts needed if errors start being noticed over an extended period, with the drip-drip loss of public or organisation confidence?
Then we have the EU referendum. It is highly likely that even if England (or is it the UK?) opts out of Europe, it will stay in the European Economic Area (the old EFTA) – at least for data matters. So apart from the resultant Europe-wide recession, crash of the Euro and exodus of global technology companies to Asia, it should be business as usual!
So is it all going to be doom and gloom?
There is some really amazing technologies and concepts beginning to have real uptake – each with their own challenges, but each opening up vast opportunities.
Take, for example, “The Internet of Things” (IOT). Whilst the standardisation and management of IOT is still evolving, there is a massive take-up by the public. The shops are flooded with smart gadgets that light, control and report on all sorts of stuff. It is a shame that the acronym IOS has already been adopted by Apple!
In the corporate world, privacy issues are now coming to the fore, with compliance to new regulations forcing a safer and more sensible way of storing and protecting our personal data. Meanwhile, in the public sector, the eIDAS Trust regulations will grow in both importance and influence. Digital signature will become more acceptable and trusted transactions will become the norm.
eIDAS will also start influencing the private sector. It is not because the regulation is so perfect (remember the lesson from VHS and Betamax), but they do set common trust services regulations across the entire EU – and with such a broad mandatory use for the public sector, the private sector will be sure to piggy-back on them. If only the banks would see the benefits of such a baseline.
2016 gives us an opportunity to up our game!
Let us not let things slip. There are some great initiatives out there – many of which we all will be involved with. So instead of just ‘pushing the pea’ along at the normal slow pace, why not accelerate that innovation, drive the pace, and really achieve something great in 2016.
Author: Jon Shamah, Chairman of EEMA