2017 has been a big year for network security. We had major cyber-attacks that took some business’ offline for weeks and an increase in cyber warfare from Russia and North Korea that paints the picture of an upcoming digital battlefield. Of course, with the rise in new attacks there have also been new measures put in place to prevent this with cyber security budgets going up in many businesses, from the independently owned to government controlled. Network security is becoming a serious business in the enterprise world, so here are five trends I expect to see in 2018.

1. The Number 1 Priority

Cyber-attacks are on the rise and as we see an increase in the quantity and quality of security threats enterprises are expected to treat internal network threat detection and response as a top priority in 2018. Formal regulations will be put in place to protect private-data with heavier consequences given to organisations who fail to meet the minimum requirement for prevention, detection and response technology.

2. A Second Motive For Hackers

Enterprise Ransomware was already a major trend in 2017 with attacks like WannaCry, BadRabbit and NotPetya being just a few highlights. We expect this trend to continue into 2018 and beyond. While these attacks have been mostly malware related with a focus on disrupting the targeted business, it is entirely possible that a business could be held at Ransom by a hacker demanding millions of pounds to get their organisation back in working order. With new reports on more dangerous strains of computer virus being created we will most definitely see a rise in these types of attacks and so business’ need to be prepared.

3. Cure Your Network

Recent attacks on the NHS have seen an increase in cyber defence of healthcare networks. Many organisations are preparing for a Cyber War with foreign threats like North Korea and one of the biggest targets expected to be hit is the medical industry due to the high value of the technology used. A problem that has recently been exposed is that the networks being used for these enterprises need a lot of catching up from a security perspective before they can really defend patient data and care from future Ransomware attacks.

4. Smart Home, Dumb Security

2018 will see a rise in the application of ‘Smart Homes’ thanks to an increase of IoT devices. The problem is that many of these devices have not been thoroughly tested for cyber attacks making them prime targets for hackers. These exploits could give hackers control of a person’s home and access to a lot of personal data without the consumer even knowing. So, for many IoT developers making sure that these devices are protected and that there are plans in place for attacks will be a priority otherwise they risk losing a lot of customers.

5. ‘Look Behind You!’

The rise in cloud and mobile-based software has taken a lot of focus away from company mainframes and we expect a reverse of this in 2018. Mainframes are the foundation of thousands of global organisations, especially within financial services, and are often overlooked by security teams due to be old news. Taking over a mainframe can give a hacker a serious advantage as they would access to a lot of data and possibly even credit card information. All it will take is one attack to turn attention back to mainframe security but if businesses get a head start now then maybe it can be prevented.

A lot of these points sound like warnings to enterprises and that’s because they are. Business’ are a higher priority for hackers because they can create a bigger outcome and every time new defence strategies are implemented; a new strain of malware or computer virus is created to breach it. With even more options for hackers, business’ need to be even more prepared than every in the New Year.