I’ve been working closely with some of our many experts around the world to develop thinking around what will happen in cybersecurity in 2019. The fruits of our work are summarised in the NTT Security 2019 Predictions, available now. 

First of all, what isn't surprising is the vision for the evolving threat landscape. With world-leading threat intelligence, we know a great deal about evolving threats that affect businesses daily, helping customers through our threat detection services. We have recently written about substantial threats facing the retail sector (including in our Global Threat Intelligence Report for November) and found that this sector was the poorest performing of any sector in 2018 for cybersecurity best practice. 

This is our first prediction, chronologically. “Major consumer retail brands suffer relentless attacks as cyber criminals zero-in on weak defenses and high volumes of customer data,” says Raymond Teo, Senior Vice president, Business Development, Asia Pacific. 

Operational Technology (OT) and smart, connected, cities will also face relentless threats throughout 2019 and we think there will be serious consequences for citizens. “A cyber attack on OT or smart cities may cause a major impact on critical national infrastructure services in the developed world, leading to a major health or safety impact on the nation's citizens,” writes both Garry Sidaway, our SVP Security Strategy and Alliances, and Henrik Davidsson, Sales Director for the Nordics.

Indeed, what is more surprising is quite how many human factors came up for discussion, and the breadth of this discussion: these account for half of our 2019 predictions. 

We do think there is a growing understanding among employees in general that they are essential to organization security. But there is some way to go. In 2018, 43% of respondents to our Risk:Value research said cybersecurity was the IT team’s problem. That’s one scary (and very neglectful) percentage, but one which we believe will fall in 2019 due to improvements in organization culture and continuing media coverage of major cyber incidents that raises awareness among staff in non-technical functions. 

“Non-tech literate employees finally understand that they matter to cybersecurity”, predicts Stephen Bloom, Senior Marketing Director for the Americas.

Unfortunately, insider threats will intensify, and a number of disengaged employees will surrender their loyalty to hackers. Employee behavior analytics will provide some assistance. Employee behavior analytics stops a worker from leaking tens of thousands of customer records,” concludes Senior Solutions Architect Lawson Davies. 

We hope you enjoy reading the rest of our 2019 predictions and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.