Locking Down Comms: Security, Fraud, Compliance & Privacy
Security demands generate new opportunities for unified communications
Security threats are on the rise. For many, 2017 became the “year of the hacker”, as cyber security breaches hit countless high-profile businesses across the globe, opening the eye of the public to the risks that businesses face in the modern world.
For communications companies and those in the UC industry, it’s easy to look at the threats surrounding the industry, the upcoming complexity of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the ever-rising demand for privacy, and see nothing but challenges. However, the truth is that these concerns could generate new opportunities for partners when used correctly. Being able to provide peace of mind in a world of rising threats could be the ultimate way for companies to differentiate themselves in the modern market.
2017 and the Year of the Hacker
The number of cyber-security attacks faced in 2017 was astronomical, and the unfortunate truth is that problems will continue to appear in 2018 as hackers become more sophisticated and discover new technological resources that help them to achieve their goals. Just some of the biggest concerns we saw in 2017 include:
- The CIA: Responsible for securing America against overseas threats, the CIA saw their own cyber attack when confidential documents were released on WikiLeaks. The group was subsequently criticised for withholding important data
- Cellebrite: This company earned their fame pulling personal information from phones for government use. The brand fell victim to their own game in 2017 when their external server was hacked and 900GB of data was taken
- NHS: Though the NHS wasn’t specifically targeted, the WannaCry Ransomware attack had a huge impact on the health service, preventing workers from accessing computers and patient files
- Deloitte: An embarrassing outcome for a business that prides itself on cyber intelligence, Deloitte experienced a cyber attack in March 2017 due to poor security practices. In fact, only one password was needed to access the primary administrator account
- Countless Companies: Various US Federal Agencies and universities were attacked in 2017 by a Russian Hacker who took advantage of badly-programmed web applications and third-party software to launch a SQL injection attack
Why is UC Security Suffering?
There are many reasons why we’re facing a security and privacy issue in the UC industry. For instance, the rise of collaborative tools like Instant Messaging (IM) has been a beneficial thing for many businesses, but when applications aren’t properly regulated, they can lead to huge cracks in security. Admins need to implement controls that thoroughly vet and maintain the tools an enterprise uses. What’s more:
- Internet of Things: IoT has emerged as a popular new technology in 2017, and something that’s likely to continue accelerating in 2018. However, security isn’t routinely built into IoT devices, and this generates new gaps in safety for UC companies accessing data from IoT technology
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): Almost anyone can rent a DDoS attack on the web today. You can even pay a criminal to perform the attack for you. The simplicity of commissioning these attacks could mean that threats continue to escalate in the years ahead, along with the costs associated with managing them
- Cloud Security: As more companies move into the Cloud, it’s important to remember that it’s up to you to secure your hosted data. Vulnerabilities exist everywhere, and modern organisations need to find a way to tap into end-to-end security
- Internal Problems: The tools used in today’s UC communities aren’t the only things to blame for a rise in security threats. As hackers become more sophisticated, there are still people in the business world using simple passwords and insecure methods to encrypt their data. Policies need to be implemented for long-term safety
Additionally, even as companies continue to speak to their customers through a range of new multi-platform solutions, toll fraud is still on the rise. In fact, the global cost of this phenomenon has an estimated value of around £25.5 billion, and it’s happening to businesses on a rapid scale. Researchers have found that the UK is actually the third-most-targeted country for toll fraud issues, with instances rising at a rate 15% per year.
Privacy, MiFiD II, and GDPR
It’s not surprising that increasing Cyber attacks are pushing customers to demand more peace of mind from the companies they do business with. Regulations are rising to help tackle issues with privacy, like the MiFiD II. The original Markets in Financial Instruments Directive changed the way the cash equity markets functioned, removing barriers within cross-border financial services. The new update should have an even more significant impact on the landscape, affecting everyone involved in the processing of financial instruments.
At the same time, we also have the arrival of GDPR in May 2018 to think about. This is going to be a huge story for most companies to cover, and yet we’re not hearing much from businesses about how they plan to address the concerns of the new regulation. The GDPR introduces new obligations for data processors and controllers to make sure that they’re identifying, protecting, and managing customer data in the right way.
The Opportunity for Rising Security
Ultimately, it’s impossible to overlook the importance of security in the modern marketplace. The reality is that it will continue to be a huge area of growth for companies all across the industry, and an issue that all partners and vendors should be thinking about as they consider their roadmap going forward.
As terrifying as the threat of cyber-security can be, it also represents an amazing chance for you to differentiate your business in the months ahead. The promise of a strong GDPR strategy, an in-depth knowledge of MiFID II, and even the right safety processes when dealing with UC growth could be enough to convince your customers that you’re the right brand to deliver what they need in 2018.