Top 5 Security Predictions for 2016

It's that time of year again, when the retrospective and predictive blogs come out of the closet, just before the Christmas festivities begin.  This time last year, the 2015 predictions were an interesting selection of both consumer and enterprise challenges, with a focus on:


  • Customer Identity Management
  • The start of IoT security awareness
  • Reduced Passwords on Mobile
  • Consumer Privacy
  • Cloud Single Sign On

In retrospect, a pretty accurate and ongoing list.  Consumer related identity (cIAM) is hot on most organisation's lips, and whilst the password hasn't died (and probably never will) there are more people using things like swipe login and finger print authentication than ever before.

But what will 2016 bring?


Mobile Payments to be Default for Consumers

2015 has seen the rise in things like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay hitting the consumer high street with venom.  Many retail outlets now provide the ability to "tap and pay" using a mobile device, with many banks also offering basic contactless payments on debit cards.  The limit for such contactless payments, was recently upped to £30 in September, making the obvious choice for busy interactions such as supermarkets and coffee shops.  This increased emphasis on the mobile representing an identity, will put pressure on mobile's ability for secure credential storage and the potential for fraud and payment data theft.


Internet of Things Data Sharing to be Tackled

IoT is everywhere.  The "web of things", the "internet of everything", each week a new term is coined.  The simple fact is that millions more devices are coming on line, and are generating, collecting and aggregating data from a range of sources - both personal and machine related.  That data needs to be effectively shared using a transparent consent model.  Individuals are more accurately aware than ever before, that their data can be used in a myriad of different ways - some for service improvement but some maliciously.  3rd party data sharing is inevitable, if the true benefits of the IoT world are to be realised - but that data sharing requires real consent and revocation capabilities using standards such as User Managed Access and others.


EU General Data Protection Regulation Brings New Organisational Challenges

The recent change in the EU GDPR, will bring challenges for many organisations looking to leverage the power of digital transformation or harness the power of cloud.  The new EU changes, provide a clear message, regarding the use and management of user data, with powerful fines now acting as a large incentive for compliance and process redesign.  Many end users and consumers are becoming fully aware of how powerful their data can become, when combined with things like tracking, marketing or analytics and full and proper control over that data should be made available.


An Increase in Device Pairing & Sharing

The increase in house hold and consumer devices with "smart" capabilities is leading to a more "pin and pair" ecosystems for things like smart TVs, connected cars, home heating systems, fridges and more.  The ability for a device to be linked to a physical identity, brings a brand new set of use cases for identity impersonation, data sharing and personalisation.  The ability for a TV to be linked to a physical person and not just a household for example, brings interesting use cases for personalised content delivery.  The pairing of devices will probably leverage existing authorization standards such as OAuth2, where quick and simple revocation will help to increase confidence in how physical identities can be linked and revoked from devices.


Every Company Will Have a Blockchain R&D Team

The Bitcoin revolution seems to have hit the top of the "peak of inflated expectations", with the effective delivery still some 5 to 10 years away.  However, the capabilities of the blockchain architecture are starting to visit new non-currency related use cases, such as intellectual property protection, art copyrighting, access request cataloguing and more.  The interest in the distributed and hashed nature of the blockchain, make new transparent data sharing and decision point architectures a potential weapon in the security architect's arsenal.  Whilst many of the capabilities and features may need implementing, many organisations will be looking on with keen eyes, to see if this ecosystem can start to deliver on it's early promise.


Will be interesting to see what 2016 brings.  One thing is for sure, that information security has never been such a concern for many organisations in both the private and public sector.

Happy holidays and see you in 2016!

By Simon Moffatt