In the past several years, IT security and authorization issues have plagued the public and private sectors, with data breach after data breach striking with unrelenting consistency. The cost of lost or exposed information continues to rise, and businesses must start to become more aggressive in the fight against cyber criminals and data loss. 

While security software has certainly evolved and best practices are becoming more effective and relevant with respect to threat management, businesses cannot forget the importance of preparing staff members and upgrading credentials. Security challenges in 2014 will likely be very similar to those experienced in 2013, and leaders should work to not be fooled twice by the common threats in the current market landscape. 

Predicting security risks
Before diving into the common threats that most companies will experience, business leaders must remember that many risks are specific to their unique operations, IT environments, data and processes. A cut-and-paste approach to enterprise security will rarely work to the advantage of the firm, while the most comprehensive and customized measures tend to be far more effective. 

However, going into 2014, here are some of the threats that all decision makers should at least be aware of:

  • APTs: Advanced persistent threats are serious matters, and have traditionally targeted governments and major international corporations. The most common form of these attacks tend to be distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), which essentially knocks out access to corporate systems and databases. Businesses of all sizes need to mitigate these risks, as hackers become less predictable.
  • Bring your own device (BYOD): Likely the biggest security concern of most business leaders and public sector officials has been the BYOD trend, which entails enterprises allowing employees to use their personal devices and apps for work functions. When BYOD is launched, organizations must take the proper measures to shore up backend protection, as well as management of the devices themselves, to avoid a breach. 
  • Cloud computing: Although security fears related to the cloud have largely subsided, some concerns remain. Cloud computing, much like any IT service, will always have certain susceptibilities which must be patched and protected against. With the right credential, authorization and access controls, though, many of these risks can be completely mitigated. 
  • Password: Passwords are likely the most commonly overlooked aspect of security when it comes to consumer, business and public sector use of devices. Failure to use effective passwords – and regularly update them – is a popular cause of breach. However, when employees know how to manage their passwords more effectively, security will be significantly improved. 
  • XP: Certain studies have found that nearly 33 percent of companies worldwide are still using Windows XP as their primary operating system. In April, Microsoft will stop supporting XP, which could spell serious issues for those unaware of the switch. Businesses will need to migrate to supported operating systems, as sticking with XP will lead to significant threats due to unpatched vulnerabilities. 

Decision-makers who want to maintain more effective security in 2014 should consider adopting more advanced authentication, credential and access control solutions as soon as possible.