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Riverbed 2019 Predictions: IoT Security Breaches Will Push CTOs Toward Automation, AI/ML

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by The Office of the CTO at Riverbed

IoT Security Breaches Will Push CTOs Toward Automation, AI/ML

With a new year comes a small dose of good and bad technology news. On the downside, the widespread, rapid growth of Internet-connected devices - collectively referred to as the Internet of Things - will be impacted by a wave of security issues in 2019. The good news, though, is that technology - specifically, automation and Artificial Intelligence, by way of Machine Learning - can provide a way around the security pitfall. Here's how we see it playing out:

Expect IoT Security Breaches

In 2019, we'll see widespread security breaches that will, in large part, stem from lax security across a range of IoT devices. The widespread and rapid adoption of Internet of Things devices - whether fitness bands, home appliances or Internet-connected security systems - is built on the low-cost affordability of many of these devices.

To keep production costs low, device manufacturers have sacrificed the advanced security technologies that would provide greater protections - but also would have led to a price-point that hinders adoption. Now, with an abundance of unprotected devices transferring valuable end-user data, conditions have become ripe for large-scale breaches.

How widespread will the breaches be? We anticipate that they'll be large enough and damaging enough to create a shift in attitude about IoT across the spectrum of end-users, developers and device manufacturers. First, there will be a wake-up call and the realization that there is no quick fix to the security breaches - only smart security investments and re-engineered devices.

Looking ahead, developers will prioritize security over ease of access. And while that may bring a slowdown to the rapid development and adoption of IoT devices of all shapes and sizes, it will prove to be crucial to the long-term success of the technology. On the other side, these same breaches and a search for solutions to help combat future threats will give other technologies, such as Machine Learning, a boost. 

Automation to the Rescue

Faced with an unprecedented volume of data and security risks from a range of previously innocuous devices, there will be greater demands on technologies that are both evolving and emerging to do the heavy lifting of data monitoring and threat detection. Automation and Artificial Intelligence, through machine learning, will advance to the point that it becomes a viable option for businesses in 2019. Likewise, software-defined networking, or SD-WAN, will quickly become recognized for the flexibility and adaptability that will be needed for automation solutions to address security issues.

To remain relevant and effective leaders in 2019, CTOs will need to develop a solid knowledge base around AI, ML, and automation and how the technologies can best be leveraged in long-term IT strategies. It will be a change in mindset and practical strategy that will take more than the next twelve months to effectively realize, but solutions already exist that organizations will turn to in the wake of a serious data breach.

Chief among these is software-defined networking in a wide area network, or SD-WAN. SD-WAN will quickly become the solution of choice for many enterprises because it features built-in automation. The need to quickly respond to threats will make ready-to-deploy automated systems enticing and that means we'll see adoption of SD-WAN at scale, across all major industries.

Will it solve the problems overnight? It's unlikely - in part because organizations will continue to use automation for detection, rather than a full threat-protection solution. It will take time and further innovation in AI for IT teams to confidently allow automated systems to take charge and shut down individual devices that have been marked as compromised.

Bigger Challenges, Deeper Integration

Every year, we recognize that technologies will evolve and that the demands of business will drive adoption rates. When we look ahead at 2019, we recognize that technologies like Artificial Intelligence, software-defined networking and the actual connected devices will converge. But we also recognize that it won't happen naturally.

The forces of large-scale IoT breaches, which seem to be inevitable, will force companies to take notice and take action. For as much as the breaches will prompt costly mitigation efforts and raise deep security concerns, they will also cause a shift in perspective among enterprises. That, in turn, will spark further innovation and result in even more solutions to address the challenges of a hyper-connected age.

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Published Tuesday, January 22, 2019 7:43 AM by David Marshall
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