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More cybersecurity trends to watch for in 2017

SearchITChannel’s 2017 technology outlook article identified a number of cybersecurity trends affecting channel companies.

Among those developments are an anticipated rise in security operations center automation, the adoption of machine learning as a security technology and greater customer interest in integrated security suites.

Here are a few more cybersecurity trends to add to the list, based on recent interviews with channel partners and industry executives:

• SDN gets a security role

Software-defined networking (SDN) has always had the potential to assist with security. The technology lets administrators program a range of network devices from a central software controller, which means an organization can potentially make faster adjustments to deal with particular kinds of attacks.

Luke Norris, founder and CEO of Faction Inc., an infrastructure as a service cloud provider based in Denver, said SDN is now beginning to shake up enterprise security.

“I think that software-defined networking is finally getting deep enough into the enterprise where the idea of the edge firewall will start to go away,” Norris explained. “More customers are using SDN capabilities to do policy-based security between servers.”

• The great CASB?

Cloud access security broker (CASB) products, which act as gatekeepers between the cloud and an organization’s on-premise infrastructure, have been around for a while. But CASB use has yet to become pervasive. A Nemertes Research security study in 2016 found 41% of respondents had heard of CASB and only 21% of the survey participants reported using the technology.

CASB may gain more recognition in 2017, however. Vendor acquisitions, for example, have helped set the stage for a higher CASB profile. In 2016, Cisco, Oracle and Symantec were among the companies acquiring CASB technology.

“This is the year we actually start to care about CASB,” said Greg Kushto, director of the security practice at Force 3, a network security company based in Crofton, Md.

• Cybersecurity trends in the legal and regulatory arena

Privacy and security rules and regs could see more activity this year.

“I predict there will be changes to consumer privacy laws in 2017,” said Vijay Basani, CEO of security as a service provider EiQ Networks. “The Trump administration may be a lot more aggressive in getting access to personal data to fight terrorism and cybercrime. This will cause increased friction between government, industry and privacy advocates.”

The evolution of cybersecurity threats may also spark policy changes. Basani noted that 2017 will see more attacks and breaches related to the increased use of devices connected to the internet of things, for example.

“There is the potential for new regulations as a result of new breaches,” he added.

• Vendors sharpen security focus

It’s no secret that security is becoming increasingly important for all technology vendors, not just those companies focusing exclusively on security products and services. Cisco, for example, has made security an important thrust and that direction will influence how partners make money with the company.

“Security is a true strength for Cisco today,” said Mike Greaney, CEO of Force 3. “Over the last three years, we’ve seen them invest nearly $5 billion in R&D and acquisitions in the security space.”

Greaney said the timing works out well for Force 3, given the company’s security emphasis. He also noted that Cisco’s Value Incentive Program, which rewards partners for promoting specific Cisco technologies and solutions, is now aligned with the vendor’s key growth initiatives in security and software. He said it’s important for partners to recognize and understand that alignment.

“These issues are top-of-mind for customers, and they’re areas where partners can carve a niche to differentiate themselves from the competition,” Greaney said.