At last week's Gartner Symposium/ITXpo, in Orlando, Fla., Gartner subject-matter experts spoke about major IT trends, how organizations can leverage them – and the inevitable enterprise security issues they introduce.
Dark Reading spoke exclusively with two of those experts, Barika Pace, senior director, analyst, and David Mahdi, research director, about different trends. However, each agreed about the critical need to build security into systems from the beginning of the design process and to make security part of the total application ecosystem.
Pace addressed the Internet of Things (IoT). "IoT is such a challenge because we just have so many devices that are connected," she said. "Many of [the IoT devices] lack the resources to really be smart and intelligent from a security standpoint." In addition, she said, traditional life-cycle management is impossible because IoT devices can't be patched or updated.
Yet the growing presence of consumer IoT devices in enterprise roles makes device management critical, according to Pace. "There are sensitive cases where the devices that we have based on the role of the person that owns the device becomes more important," she said, such as a voice assistant device brought into an office by the CEO. The device's ability to overhear and record information, such as sensitive financial data, means it has to be secured as both an endpoint and as part of an overall IoT system.
Pace pointed to the interlinking of IoT and traditional IT systems as a trend that can increase the importance of IoT security. She also said she sees danger in the way environmental control and industrial safety equipment is being brought together with other IoT and traditional IT systems into integrated architectures that could put employee and customer safety at risk during a breach. "We miss the physical implications of operational technology IoT and our personal, day-to-day lives and technology in terms of public safety," she explained.
For Mahdi, those implications all come together around the question of authentication and authorization for both users and devices. "Right now, the way a lot of traditional identity and access management works is it really just gives you access to the applications. Once you get in the application, they don't really care [what happens]," Mahdi explained.
Continuous authentication, with behavioral and pattern-matching acting as the second or third factor in a multifactor authentication scheme, he said, is an increasingly popular way of refreshing identity and increasing security without also increasing demand on users' time and attention.
The combination of an adaptive authentication regime at the application's border with unobtrusive continuation is the most promising direction for guaranteeing the identity of users in a computer system, Mahdi said. And that protection is at the heart of a question Mahdi said is among those he hears most often from CEOs: "David, what's the best thing I can do for my time and money?"
Mahdi said he has a simple answer. "Authentication. ... You can make it a lot harder for bad guys to get in. If they do reconnaissance and see that things are just password-based, they are going to 'go for it,'" he explained.
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