With 2011 coming to an end, security threats show no sign of slowing down. Predicting the future of IT threats is always very difficult. Organisations can usually only deal selectively with individual aspects, but we are seeing a convergence of several major security issues that will have a significant impact in the coming months and beyond.

You could argue that we are heading towards a ‘perfect storm’, where a combination of threats relating to cloud, consumerisation, cyber security and more, will come together at the same time. My top three security challenges for 2012:

  1.  Consumerisation of IT

The increasing consumerisation of IT in 2012 will create new attack vectors and potential vulnerabilities in corporate networks. The use of personal mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, in the workplace – blurring the lines between personal and work related activity – will continue to accelerate as cheaper, more powerful devices become available.

In addition, many of the web applications used on these devices are unlikely to have undergone formal software development and testing. This could lead to potential compliance failures and disclosure of business information. Organisations should stay one step ahead about new trends, mobile devices and related security risks.

  1.  Cyber (in) security

In 2012 and beyond, organisations will be forced to address the issue of cyber security as a high priority. On the one hand, organisations want to seize the opportunities and possibilities of networked data exchange. However, this will result in them facing new risks and they will need to develop strategies and measures to protect themselves.

The potential dangers of cyberspace range from industrial espionage to the violation of personal rights and the manipulation of critical national infrastructure (CNI) companies. Organisations will need to partner and collaborate with other businesses and government agencies, including their supply chain and customers, to share intelligence and influence the adoption of good cyber security practice.

  1.  Converging threats

New technologies, the use of personal devices in the workplace, digital information exchange, and working with third party suppliers and cloud providers, not only offer new avenues of attack for hackers and cyber criminals, but also they can be exploited in various ways for combining attacks. Organisations must broaden their view of potential threats and take a holistic approach to security and offer clear and up to date guidelines and training for all employees.