Virtualization Technology News and Information
GTT Communications 2023 Predictions: What 2023 Has in Store for Network Security


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

What 2023 Has in Store for Network Security

By James Karimi, CIO/CISO, GTT Communications

In 2023, IT departments will still be impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, as the rapidfire digital transformation campaigns kicked off in 2020/2021 will still continue as it's now expected employees will be working from anywhere. On the networking side, these initiatives will include the following:  a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) approach underpinned by internet connectivity. an continued need for higher bandwidths, and 5G (and even 6G) to provide alternatives for optimum business connectivity.

With end users need to access business applications from anywhere at any time, IT staffs must mitigate the exposure of cyberattacks with a new framework for their company's security posture. For example, cyber criminals are monitoring updates on company websites as to which offices have closed and matching them to the LinkedIn profiles of employees in those regions now working from home to begin targeting them. This scenario is going to harm companies that have been slow to adopt a Secure Access Service Edge framework, including zero trust.

Despite these challenges, 2023 will present IT teams with new strategies and emerging technologies to fight these threats - including endpoint security, expanding training to partners and contractors, increased AI in SIEM solutions, and the proliferation of enhanced internet services.

Security will move to the endpoint

A ransomware attack can enter an enterprise through any small crack in your defense and laterally spread everywhere within minutes. A lot of organizations miss that, because they have implemented a Virtual Private Network or an Endpoint Detection & Response solution, and mistakenly believe that alone equates to zero-trust protection.

In response, many organizations will move the security stack up to the application layer to the endpoint - where we anticipate a 10,000% increase in attacks. Enterprises can install 5G adapters right on the laptops, giving them more granular control of the last-mile network to do source-based security policies no matter where the user resides.

The focus will extend from training employees to policing others with external access to enterprise networks

There's been much focus on providing cybersecurity tools and awareness training to employees to better equip them to deal with cyberattacks such as phishing. But a lot of organizations are falling short on dealing with external users such as contractors and partners who generally are not governed under the enterprise's policies and procedures. These partners often have access to some of the enterprise's most critical information systems, especially when working with finance teams and legal departments. That increases the risk of data breaches much more than do incidents of employees inadvertently clicking a harmful link.

Over the past couple of years, mature organizations have performed security assessments on vendors or contractors storing their data. That's a great starting point, but there must be ongoing efforts that provide security leaders with risk scores on a continuous basis.

Many organizations that thought themselves not equipped to do those evaluations in the past will be forced to rethink their approach, starting with a basic understanding of which of their business operations partners need to access, which partners and operations they should monitor, and which are less worrisome. They should do a data check on every vendor as part of the initial engagement.

AI and machine learning will become a more prominent aspect of SIEM

Next year will see a huge jump in vendors putting Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platforms. SIEM has proven adept at collecting information and allowing enterprises to filter and focus on the most relevant alerts. But there's still a lot of noise coming in, and typically enterprises still rely on analysts to build filters. If an organization is getting thousands of the same inconsequential alerts every day, they're going to start ignoring them. Building more AI/ML into log systems will help security leaders to filter out the noise and prioritize the relevant alerts to address. For example, the system can know to ignore alerts created due to weekly server backups and not to tie up a high-priced security specialist to analyze those.

We're never going to be able to fully automate using AI/ML to determine all relevant threats. But tools will begin appearing in the coming year to help limit the involvement analysts in filtering out SIEM noise, taking us to the next level of managed detection and response.

2023 will be the year of enhanced internet

Enhanced internet services gained popularity in the last few years as an offering that improves the reliability and performance of internet-based traffic. First defined by Gartner, it includes features such as telemetry-based routing and performance optimization.

Tier 1 internet service providers, with their ability to see the IP traffic trends before anybody else, will formulate algorithms to start looking at traffic flows, providing clients with continuous reports on potentially malicious traffic from certain destinations to their IP ports that require investigation without the need of additional security functionality.

Service providers will also offer clients full vulnerability scans of their IP space on a timely basis to provide visibility into risks. As organizations grow, they often end up with shadow systems with vulnerabilities that aren't noticed as these systems are quickly forgotten. Scans can easily reveal dozens of vulnerabilities on an organization's public websites in seconds, just by checking a couple of IP addresses they own.

2023 is still an opportunity to be safe

As always, the coming year will present both serious challenges and opportunities to IT and security leaders. But by investing in the latest frameworks such as zero-trust and leveraging the best solutions coming to the market, they can keep pace with constantly evolving cyberthreats.




James Karimi serves as the CIO/CISO at GTT Communications and is a seasoned engineering veteran in both telecommunications and enterprise networks and systems. In a career spanning 27 years at various companies, he has focused on multiple areas of technology and has been involved in architecting several carrier networks; managing vast enterprise networks, systems and applications; integrating network and systems; and managing consolidation due to M&A activities. He has also participated in and had oversight of many network-based projects, including network monitoring and management with an emphasis on software-driven network automation. Currently, James is focused on the transformation and automation of the GTT systems platforms as well as continually evolving the GTT security program to limit risk, exposure and to stay current with the evolving threat landscape. Previously, he was the CTO and founder of IPNetZone Communications, the first company to build an MPLS exchange platform in 2006. He also previously held CTO positions at Amp Networks and United Network Services prior to coming to GTT.

Published Thursday, December 15, 2022 7:42 AM by David Marshall
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<December 2022>