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





What Coco Chanel Knew About Identity Management

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” 

Coco Chanel, the leading figure of the 1930's fashion scene, knew a thing or two about the little black dress and smelling nice. 

Inadvertently, she also knew a thing or two about identity and access management - probably without knowing it.

A poorly designed customer identity management solution, will be remembered.  Not just by your customers and prospects, but by the organisation delivering the service too.  A badly developed registration flow or an overly complex login process, will kill your service, product or application stone dead.

techUK: Securing the IoT - Workshop Review

This week saw the techUK host a workshop on securing the Internet of Things and overcoming the risks associated with an increasingly connected world. The event (#IoTSecurity) attracted a variety of speakers from the public and private sector and brought about some interesting topics and further questions on this ever changing landscape.

Embedded Device and Host Device Life Cycle Disparity

Stephen Pattison from ARM, introduced the event, and brought up and interesting view of the challenge with keeping IoT devices up to date - either with firmware, software or hardware improvements.  He observed there is often a disparity between the small inexpensive sensor, actuator, or controller type components and the host device with respect to life span.  For example, a car may last 15 years, whilst a tracking component may last 36 months.  The rip and replace nature of general consumerism has subtle issues with respect to the IoT landscape, where the re-provisioning of new embedded devices, or the improvement in existing devices is often overlooked.

Nimbus Ignite 2015 Digital Conference Review

This week was the Nimbus Ignite 2015 conference in London, with a specific theme of "Doing Digital to Being Digital".  A great array of speakers from both industry and vendors, provided some interesting bite sized chunks of best practice and real world examples of how to implement successful digital transformation projects.

Whilst culture, technology and business buy-in were common themes that were well discussed, it seemed that the role the identity now plays a key part in helping to achieve the seamless level of customer engagement many organisations are now looking for.  I presented on the topic of "Customer Engagement, Identity & Security in a Digital Age", which generated some interesting conversations.

Gartner Identity Summit London 2015 - Review

This week saw the Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit come to London town.  The event brings together the great and good from the identity community, with a range of vendors, consultancies and identity customers all looking to analyse the current market place and understand the current challenges as well as hot topics that can be applied in 2015 and beyond.

Hitting the Right Notes

The main keynote from the external speaker, was from the highly talented classical musician Miha Pogacnik.  Miha delivered an inspirational 60 minute talk, translating the components of classical music into the realm of business transformation.  He focused on organisational change and all the various different angles of repetition, aggression, questioning and responding that occur and the new challenges it places on organisations, whilst playing a piece of Bach on his violin!  Fantastic.


Customer Data: Convenience versus Security

Organisations in both the public and private sector are initiating programmes of work to convert previously physical or offline services, into more digital, on line and automated offerings.  This could include things like automated car tax purchase, through to insurance policy management and electricity meter reading submission and reporting.

Digitization versus Security

This move towards a more on line user experience, brings together several differing forces.  Firstly the driver for end user convenience and service improvement, against the requirements of data security and privacy.  Which should win?  There clearly needs to be a balance of security against service improvement.  Excessive and prohibitive security controls would result in a complex and often poor user experience, ultimately resulting in fewer users.  On the other hand, poorly defined security architectures, lead to data loss, with the impact for personal exposure and brand damage.

Top 5 Security Predictions for 2015

January can't go by without another set of prediction blogs coming our way. Be that for lifestyle, how to lose weight, how to gain weight, how to change our lives and so on.  I thought I would join the band wagon and jot down what I think will be the top 5 challenges facing organisations from a security perspective this year.  If I'm being diligent enough, I may even review it come December (only if I'm right of course...).