The Future of Cybersecurity: Innovations in Technology Still Not as Critical as People

cybersecurity peopleCybersecurity is a discipline that’s hard to predict. It’s an ever-changing environment. Cyber threats evolve, the tools to defend against attacks mature, and people must continue to hone and adapt their skills. While no crystal ball can pinpoint the future of cybersecurity, we know there are three key components: people, processes, and technology.

These three elements will shape the industry’s future, but the wild card is people. Cyber professionals have a greater weight than processes and technology. Innovation in technology to combat cybercrime has great momentum, aided by AI. You can do a lot to improve your security posture, but without people who have both soft and technical skills, your organization will be at a greater risk.

Let’s ponder the future of cybersecurity, touching on what the threat landscape will look like and how technology, processes, and people can address them.

The Future Threat Landscape

When looking at the future threat landscape, we can’t move too far ahead. Cybersecurity is too volatile to map out what things will look like in a decade. So, we’ll concentrate on the immediate future. Expect these threats to make an impact.

The Cybercrime Economy Is Booming

Cybercrime is the world’s third-largest economy and will cost the world $8 trillion in 2023 and $10.5 trillion by 2025. This economy is booming right now. Anyone can buy access to networks and ransomware online. Cybercriminals don’t need the technical skills to deploy a sophisticated attack. With this opportunity, there’s a new option for threat actors—cybercrime-as-a-service.

The cybercrime economy is also flourishing due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, where cyber-attacks have created their own war zone. Any time there’s instability in a region, the proliferation of cybercrime should be expected. In fact, 93% of cyber leaders believe geopolitical instability is moderately or very likely to lead to a major cyber event.

The Remote Worker Continues to Be a Risk

The world of work is different now and unlikely to transition back to what it was before the pandemic. Employers must be flexible to attract and keep talent, which means remote work is here to stay. It extends the endpoints for any organization with hackers eager to find ways to exploit vulnerable or misconfigured systems.

You can no longer assume that all devices across the enterprise have perimeter security. Experts point to the adoption of zero-trust models to mitigate this risk.

Highly Targeted Cyber Attacks Will Become a Bigger Problem

The industry has transformed rapidly over the past few years, and hackers have been able to focus on weaknesses via highly targeted attacks. Since attackers can now outsource the actual hacking, they have more time to be strategic and research organizations to hit.

Their main target is finding those businesses most likely to pay a ransom to regain their data. These criminals look at organizations within regulated industries like healthcare. They know that those in healthcare face steep fines and reputational harm from data breaches and believe they’ll remit the ransom.

Technology Advancements to Defend Against Cyberattacks

As the threats above continue to surge, what new technology will be available to combat them? Much of it will involve AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning). However, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

AI and ML Technology: A Boost for Cyber Professionals and Hackers

The industry has optimism and worries regarding AI and ML. It’s become a great innovation to detect issues across a network with automation. It can take over many repetitive, rules-based tasks, freeing cyber professionals to be more strategic. There are several positive impacts associated with AI and ML, including:

  • Detection of fraud and anomalies: AI and ML are excellent tools for detecting and recognizing patterns. They take the pressure off humans having to monitor every system.
  • Email spam filtering: Phishing remains a key tactic for hackers. Cybercriminals are becoming much more sophisticated with these attacks. Even employees with high knowledge of phishing, genuine-looking emails can still trick them. Using AI to filter email spam can prevent them from getting to anyone’s inbox.
  • Identifying botnets: ML algorithms can find and prevent bot attacks. They also can detect behavior patterns, which would be very labor-intensive and timely for humans to do alone.
  • Data leak prevention: No organization wants to expose its data, and AI can classify specific data types in text and non-text formats. The algorithms can learn to distinguish sensitive information by searching for data in videos, images, and voice recordings.

AI and ML also have benefits for cybercriminals who use them to:

  • Gather data for victim profiling and social engineering.
  • Deploy ransomware with success.
  • Create sophisticated phishing scams.
  • Generate deepfakes with voice phishing.
  • Hide malware by mimicking legitimate network traffic.
  • Break passwords and CAPTCHAs.

Next, we’ll look at how specific processes can adapt to cybersecurity’s future.

Processes and Workflows Must Evolve

The next piece of the cybersecurity future puzzle is the process. Process in this manner means any tactic or workflow that’s part of cybersecurity operations. Technology is redefining these, with AI and ML able to automate many labor-intensive things. There’s more to reinvent, as well, including:

  • Risk assessments: Your threat landscape is growing and changing rapidly, so you need more flexible workflows to reassess risk consistently.
  • Penetration testing: Any organization needs to leverage penetration testing by qualified third parties. White hat hackers use tools to automate some of this, but humans still need to be part of this, so it’s not advisable to just let the bots do it.
  • Organizational design review: Your organization’s structure affects risk management. The most important is to have cyber professionals within the C-suite. Security experts need to have the ear of leadership to convey the risk landscape and receive the right support.
  • Supply chain security refresh: Supply chain risk continues to be a security risk, but you can’t operate in a vacuum. Instead, you must prioritize third-party risk management, conduct ongoing assessments, and secure privileged access management.
  • Implementing DevSecOps: By adopting this principle, you can progress the strategy of being secure by design. DevSecOps enables security and agility.

As an umbrella over all these recommendations, your overarching cybersecurity strategy needs a regular update to consider what the present and future hold.

Now, let’s move to the third and most important pillar—people.

The Future of Cybersecurity: It’s Still People-Centered

Innovation in cybersecurity depends on technology and processes. However, your people play a significant role in creating a culture of innovation. That innovation may be elusive to you for several reasons, the most glaring being the cybersecurity talent shortage. It’s hard to innovate when you have to do more with less. Additionally, your people may be unwilling or unable to progress in their perspectives or mindsets.

To future-proof your cyber staff, you’ll need to help them become great communicators, collaborators, and critical thinkers. There’s a framework to do this called the Secure Methodology™, which has seven steps to support the new era of cybersecurity.

The Secure Methodology Transforms Technical People to Drive Innovation

Here’s a quick preview of each step and how it contributes to preparing your cyber workforce for the future.

  • Awareness: Technical folks often struggle with being aware of themselves and others, which causes conflict and barriers to progress. Awakening awareness helps people widen their perspectives and be better collaborators.
  • Mindset: Shifting people from a fixed to a growth mindset makes them able to consider the future and how to address emerging threats. Developing a mindset has a lot to do with understanding motivation and breaking down walls.
  • Acknowledgment: As a cyber leader, you have a lot of control over this. Starting with an appreciation for staff goes a long way in building trust and respect. Positive reinforcement can affect how workers see themselves in the enterprise. They’ll feel like they are part of something and will be more adaptable to what’s coming. Accountability is important here, too, but keep the correction to private conversations.
  • Communication: If technical people have poor communication skills, innovation, and future-proofing will remain out of reach. They must learn to speak inclusively (no geek speak!) and listen effectively. How you communicate with your team and others set the standard. Discussing the importance of honest and transparent communication should be something you reinforce daily.
  • Monotasking: In monotasking, people concentrate on a specific task. It’s the opposite of multitasking, which increases the likelihood of mistakes and errors. It fits into the future conversation because technology and automation can remove a lot of the manual strain so that cyber professionals can focus on higher-level work without distractions.
  • Empathy: Cognitive empathy describes the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and perspectives. It’s an attribute that supports awareness, mindset, and communication. Creating a culture of empathy in your cybersecurity team means they can grow and evolve as dynamics change.
  • Kaizen: This is a Japanese term that means “continuous improvement,” and any organization needs this as a pillar to be ready for cybersecurity’s future.

The Secure Methodology steps drive change so your people can weather the future. They are your most valuable assets and the centerpiece for innovation.

Check out the Secure Methodology course today.

Why Geeks Need EQ and Leadership Skills

high iq low eq geekFirst coined by psychologists Salovey and Mayer in 1990, the term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ talks about our capacity to process, perceive, and regulate emotional information effectively and accurately. Emotional intelligence can be used on others and in ourselves to process information to guide our thinking and actions, along with influencing feelings in others.

Emotional intelligence is an important part of every workplace and is used to provide a framework by which standards of intelligence can be applied. Unfortunately for geeks, this means that simply being smart (high IQ) won’t cut it at work — they also need leadership skills that can be derived from emotional intelligence. In this blog post, we discuss why geeks need leadership skills.

What are EQ Skills?

Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence refers to our ability to use, understand, and positively manage our emotions to communicate effectively, relieve stress, and empathize with others. Having EQ skills can help us succeed in school and work, build stronger relationships, as well as achieve personal and career goals. Moreover, EQ skills can help us connect to our feelings, make informed decisions, and turn intention into action. EQ is commonly defined by these four attributes:

  • Self-awareness: This refers to the ability to recognize our own emotions, along with how these affect our behavior and thoughts. By being self-aware, you’ll have self-confidence and know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Self-management: Refers to being able to control impulsive behaviors and feelings, as well as being capable of managing our emotions in healthy ways. It also means that we’re able to follow through on commitments, taking initiative, and adapting to changes in circumstances.
  • Social awareness: This refers to having empathy, understanding needs, emotions, and the concerns of other people. It also means feeling comfortable socially, being able to recognize emotional cues, and knowing the power dynamics within a group.
  • Relationship management: Talks about how to develop and keep good relationships, influence and inspire others, communicate clearly, manage conflict, and work well in a team.

Are EQ and IQ Mutually Exclusive?

Many people score highly in both EQ and IQ tests. They’re both used to measure intelligence and there can be some overlap between both of these. Our synapses and neurons’ ability to send and receive signals can determine our IQ and EQ. Scientists believe that the temporal, frontal, and parietal lobes are responsible for managing both our EQ and IQ.

Some people might have a lot of one or the other, but it’s possible to cultivate and train both. While genetics may influence both IQ and EQ, there are various brain activities that you can do to boost either trait.

Why Geeks, Nerds, and Engineers Typically Do Not Have EQ Skills

Unfortunately, many geeks, nerds, and engineers, usually don’t get the chance to develop their EQ skills simply because they often think they can outsmart everyone. As a result, they will wonder why their career has stagnated or why they haven’t gotten promoted.

Another reason why this group of individuals lacks EQ skills is that they’ve learned to ignore emotions relevant to them. This leads to a socially awkward personality and being rejected by peers. This can be emotionally painful, and as a result, they will push themselves to be the best in every aspect of life that doesn’t need EQ or social skills.

How The Lack of EQ Skills is Holding them Back

Based on people’s real-life experiences, having a higher EQ is an essential trait to have when wanting to move up the ladder. However, we’re also required to have adequate training and experience, both of which will also help us towards getting promoted. All too often, we’ll see professionals who are highly talented and qualified at what they do but aren’t able to adapt their actions or communication according to a social situation — as such they aren’t self-aware enough to accept constructive feedback.

As a result, they were either passed over for promotion or quickly removed after starting a position that needed a higher EQ than they possessed. If you don’t think that EQ is all that important, then consider these statistics from past studies:

  • Emotional intelligence makes up 90% of career advancements when technical skills and IQ are similar
  • Almost 90% of top performers have higher levels of emotional intelligence.
  • Our job performance relies on emotional intelligence 58% of the time.
  • On average, those with high emotional intelligence can make $29,000 more compared to those who have low EQ.
  • Only 15% of our financial success is attributed to technical ability, while 85% is due to our personality, skills in human engineering, the ability to negotiate, communicate, and lead.

How EQ Skills Can Help With All Aspects of Life – Not Just Work

The smartest people aren’t always the ones who reap the most success. IQ on its own isn’t enough to get the success we want in life. While it’s our IQ that will get us into college, it’s our EQ that helps us manage our emotions and stress whenever we face huge challenges. Because EQ and IQ work together, they work best when they build from each other. Here are just a few things that emotional intelligence affects:

  • Our performance at work or school
  • Our physical health
  • Our mental health
  • Our relationships
  • Our social intelligence

How AI May Eliminate Jobs that Do Not Require EQ Skills

If you’re worried about Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking over jobs, you should be. There are various things that they can do that we, as humans, simply can’t compete with. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone will lose their jobs — those that require EQ skills (which AI doesn’t possess) are sure to pave the way to the jobs of the future. Here are just a few reasons how AI can eliminate positions that don’t need EQ Skills.

AI Doesn’t Get Tired or Bored

Humans are prone to problems such as personal stress, lack of rest, and boredom from repetitive tasks. For example, staying up late at night will have an impact on how we perform at work the next day. Computers, however, don’t need to sleep, and their operational ability remains the same unless they have no power.

Computers Don’t Make as Many Mistakes

Unfortunately, making mistakes is part of human nature. This isn’t true of computers, however, and they aren’t susceptible to errors. Once they get instructions, they will execute them perfectly, which makes them essential for jobs such as data entry. AI will likely take over jobs that involve transcribing, copying, pasting, and typing.

AI-Controlled Machines Can Do Dangerous Tasks

Jobs that involve factory work, machine assembly, and mining expose all workers to danger. Whether it’s extreme temperatures, dangerous fumes, or falling objects, there are plenty of situations or circumstances where workers can be killed or seriously injured. AI can be used in these fields to ensure that processes are more efficient and that humans stay out of danger.

AI is Cheaper

While building and training an AI machine may cost more at first, its overall costs for operation are much lower compared to paying someone to do the same job. Companies can save a fortune by keeping a machine running through electricity and providing it with occasional maintenance.

However, hiring a human will take resources to find and then train them, along with having to pay them a yearly salary as well as paying them the required benefits.

Key Takeaways

As discussed above, there are many reasons why geeks should have leadership skills. Here are important things to remember:

  • Not only will EQ and leadership skills help us in our work or school life, but they will also provide us with essential skills needed to advance further in many facets of our life.
  • A geek leader won’t just succeed in various ways, but will also get ahead of the crowd, acquiring skills that will make them indispensable.
  • Even if AI technology replaces jobs that don’t require EQ in the future, having leadership skills will allow us to fit into industries where AI can’t contribute due to a lack of emotional capacity.

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