AT&T: a CEO's guide to the threat landscape
Last year, AT&T opened its Cybersecurity Insights Report with a startling fact: ‘The FBI estimates that ransomware is on track to become a $1 billion crime in 2016.’
This is just one element of the huge rise in cybercrime, and the reasons are obvious. Increasingly, businesses are placing sensitive information in potentially accessible areas via use of the cloud: ‘Widespread adoption of emerging technologies such as IoT, cloud technology and mobile devices provide new points of entry for cyber criminals to exploit using tool kits easily acquired on the Dark Web,’ the Executive Summary of the report explains. AT&T’s publication aims to outline the risks in brutal detail, and then show companies how to combat the threat before it can strike.
‘The Global State of Cybersecurity survey found 90 percent of organisations experienced at least one malware-related incident in the previous 12 months, with 58 percent acknowledging occasional or frequent malware threats… cybercrime has become a global business’, the report states. There was a 300 percent increase in malicious e-mail attachments between 2015 and 2916, and worryingly, between 25 percent and 30 percent of employees click on suspicious links in the workplace. The statistics are endless, and companies must lock down their data by securing the cloud and locking down portable devices.
John Vladimir Slamecka, Region President, Global Business, EMEA of AT&T has offered Business Review Europe the following essay entitled ‘The CEO’s guide to the threat landscape’, in which he further describes the role of the Cybersecurity Insights Report, expresses hope for future security evolution, and predicts what we can expect in 2017:
Over the past year, the cybersecurity threat landscape has continued to grow. Each new device connected to the internet presents a new target for attackers. And each new social media post creates new risks for phishing attacks or social engineering.
The AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report further emphasises the impact of successful attacks: downtime (46 percent), loss of revenue (28 percent), reputational damage (26 percent), and even loss of customers (22 percent). In Europe, cyberattacks are also common and increasing in frequency. Some attacks make the headlines – like OVH, Krebs and DynDNS. However, most remain unheard of.
While this trend is concerning, security has come a long way this year. And it will continue to evolve in 2017. But, detecting and responding to threats isn’t getting easier. A rising tide of known threats and the mainstreaming of cyber-criminal activities has created an undercurrent of concern.
Despite the growing concern, many businesses are not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves. In today’s landscape, a company’s security should be one of its most important investments.
Businesses need to ask themselves: Are we doing enough to defend against known threats? Where will the next threat come from?
What’s in store for 2017 and beyond?
Looking at the year ahead we can expect some changes in cybersecurity that will affect businesses in the region:
- IoT security will remain a key concern for security in the upcoming year. Attackers will keep looking for weaknesses in devices across different verticals and industries spanning automotive, agriculture, manufacturing and healthcare to name a few. Hackers will become more interested in day-to-day items in these sectors such as network-connected wearables or smart coffee pots.
- Authentication technologies such as biometric scanning and facial recognition scanning will begin replacing passwords.
- There will be a call for more government support in Europe on cybersecurity. In 2017, we expect policymakers will focus on: how to better protect national IT systems; support for the deployment of more cyber resilient technologies; and the role of a national deterrence policy and active defense.
- There also will be a call for the continued development of industry standards and guidelines and possibly certification programs for IoT devices, as it is fast becoming the latest battleground.
The key thing to remember is prevention.
Criminals are always looking for the next way into your company. Your cybersecurity practices need to help keep them out.
By John Vladimir Slamecka, Region President EMEA, AT&T
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”