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Top 10 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2016

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How will the cybersecurity threat landscape evolve in 2016? And how will MSPs and VARs transform to mitigate those threats for end customers? Here are ChannelE2E's Top 10 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2016.

10. The Channel and the US Government Will Seek Alignment: As rogue nations and foreign hackers increasingly attack U.S.-based systems, MSPs and VARs will actually welcome more guidance from the White House -- which will need to evolve its foreign policy on cybersecurity.

9. Partners Will Stumble for IoT Security Answers: Midmarket and enterprise customers will begin to ask about Internet of Things (IoT) security. Most partners won't be ready. Keep an eye on the IoT Security Summit 2016 for potential trends and answers. The risks will blanket everything from industrial equipment to in-store beacons to consumer development platforms like Apple HomeKit and Google Brillo.

8. Ransomware Will Infect IoT Devices: This prediction, care of Information Management, describes a world where hackers will extend ransomware to medical devices and mission-critical healthcare systems. Yesterday's urgent ransomware threat -- involving a customer hard drive containing business notes -- will look downright amateur compared to the potential ransomware risks tied to embedded devices and sensors that control our lives.

7. Compliance Will Remain a Moving Target: Sure, you know about HIPAA. But are you ready to help customers as HIPAA audits accelerate in 2016? And do you know about PCI DSS 3.1 security requirements, which customers must address by July 1, 2016? Just like the U.S. tax code, every compliance mandate tends to evolve each year. VARs and MSPs will need dedicated employees to track and address the moving compliance targets.

6. Customers Will No Longer "Buy" Security: Similar to cars shipping with airbags, anti-lock brakes and motion sensors, customers will expect their managed and cloud services to arrive with built-in security. Channel partners, in turn, will simply price security into their overall customer solutions.

5. Cybersecurity Meets Machine Learning, Big Data: Channel partners will finally realize that they're leveraging big data and machine learning in the security market.  Key examples include Cisco's OpenDNS and Webroot, though the list is growing.

4. DevOps Security Holes Will Emerge: In the race to deliver continuous innovation, corporate IT departments and DevOps teams will accidentally create security holes. A case in point: How secure is a DevOps link between a private production network and a DevOps development platform out on a public cloud server? Is every step in that circle of life for software truly safeguarded? IT consulting firms will be called to find and close the holes.

3. Careful of Machine Learning Fraud: Similar to the cloud computing and big data waves, legacy software companies will attempt to reposition aging security software as "smart" software driven by machine learning. Partners will need to look closely to see who's really leveraging big data, and who's making big, empty claims.

2. Hackers Will Embrace Machine Learning Algorithms: That's right. The black hat hackers among us will start to leverage machine learning, too. Expect a forthcoming showdown between machine learning systems operated by the good guys... and the bad guys.

1. VARs, MSPs Will Investigate Cybersecurity Insurance: As channel partners manage more mission-critical data for customers, they'll be forced to partner with heavily insured cloud services providers (CSPs), or will need to buy cybersecurity insurance on their own. Insurers, meanwhile, will improve their risk models to attract a larger crowd of customers.

Feeling depressed by the list? I'm not. Every risk, after all, represents a new opportunity...

Note: ChannelE2E is running 2016 technology predictions throughout the month of December 2016. Submit predictions for consideration to [email protected]. Read all daily predictions here.


Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.