I always enjoy the challenge to learn what’s hot (at that moment) in the cybersecurity and infrastructure spaces within the public and private sectors throughout the course of each year. Also, how can we connect the dots? What government technology trends develop over time?
There are many variables that play into what readers like, from the time of year, to the sophistication of the examples given, to the headline used, to the presentation (and writing) of the actual topic itself.
Therefore, late every year, I go over the viewer numbers with my editor at Government Technology magazine. We look at page views, social media shares and a basket full of other metrics. Here’s what we found out about 2015.
One clear trend that keeps repeating is that my top two blogs are always the year-end recaps, where I name an overall theme, as well as my summary of top global security industry and media predictions for the coming year. This trend was true again for 2015. Here are those top two blogs:
- 2015 was the year that data breaches became intimate – Something new, even unprecedented, happened this year in our cyber world. The most noteworthy data breaches were not focused on financial data. Here’s a data breach recap from 2015 – along with my views on what these events tell us.
- The top 16 security predictions for 2016 – More security predictions than ever before. As I examined hundreds of expert forecasts for 2016 and beyond, with cybertrends and predicted technology events from top companies, it is hard to be optimistic about our online situation. And yet, the combined predictions tell us an important story about online life. So where is cyberspace heading? What surprises await us? Here's your annual one-stop roundup of what security experts are telling us will happen next.
OK, here we go in counting down my top 10 most popular blogs (in reverse order of popularity out of the 50 other blogs not mentioned above):
10) New Resolutions: Seven Team Building Actions for Government Leaders – As you think about resolutions for the coming year, or the next four years in government, don't forget your people. Here are seven important actions to consider.
9) Middle East Cybersecurity and Infrastructure: Dubai Offers a Different Model – I traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this past week to present the opening keynote at the Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference (GISEC 2015) in Dubai. The event offered a refreshing mix of leading global voices on security and technology topics. But most surprising, the Gulf region's public and private sector executive leaders who presented, the companies exhibiting and the amazing city as a whole offered attendees a different perspective and a positive model for the current cybersecurity and technology infrastructure challenges in the Middle East and the world as a whole.
8) Governments Need an Internet of Things Strategy – From smart drones to smart homes to smart cars that drive themselves, the world is dramatically changing all around us. So are governments ready to take advantage of these new innovative opportunities emerging within the Internet of Things (IoT)? Or, as almost everything gets connected to the Internet, could these newly connected devices become “Trojan Horses” that inadvertently bring the next generation of data breaches? What’s being done globally in the public sector with IoT right now?
7) Free Open Source Security Tools Offer an Intelligence-Based Defense – Lockheed Martin recently released new open source tools to help defend enterprises from cyberattacks. The system, called Laika BOSS, offers a malware detection and analysis framework for security analysts to share intelligence with other cyberdefenders worldwide. Here's my interview with leading cyberexperts who are offering cutting-edge insights and workable solutions to emerging battles in cyberspace.
6) Hacking Critical Infrastructure is Accelerating and More Destructive – A new report released this week by Trend Micro and the Organization of American States (OAS) shows a dramatic increase in cyberattacks directed against critical infrastructure owners and operators.
5) What to Do About Phishing? – Phishing and spear-phishing are growing problems. The clever enticements to click are getting more sophisticated and more targeted than ever. The data breach costs are mounting. What can your organization do to take phishing awareness and response to the next level?
4) 7 Essential IT Infrastructure Strategies That Customers Need Now – As we begin 2015, what do your customers really need from you? What is your government technology infrastructure plan of action for the coming year? Here are seven must-have strategies for enterprises to enable long-lasting innovation.
3) Smart Cities Resources: Who, What, When, Where and How? – Everyone is talking about smart cities. And yet, new public- and private-sector questions are emerging as more organizations engage with this global technology megatrend. So how can you take these opportunities to the next level? Who are the leaders within this hot Internet of Things (IoT) category? Which academic studies and white papers offer best practices and the most helpful resources to take your region to the next level? What cyber-risks are emerging? Here are answers and resources to consider.
2) Hacking: When Your White Hat Is Really a Black Hat - A series of recent news headlines reveal cybersecurity experts, who were being paid to defend networks, battle malware and fight cybercrime, were actually black hat hackers. What happened and what can be done to address this growing trend? Is your enterprise prepared?
1) Cyber Terrorism: How Dangerous is the ISIS Cyber Caliphate Threat? – Industry experts disagree on whether the Islamic State’s ability to mount a dangerous cyberattack is a top concern or an emerging online threat or completely overblown. But one thing is not in doubt, ISIS is making news headlines in 2015 for their exploits in cyberspace. In my view, ISIS is an emerging online threat to keep a close watch on. Here’s why.
Best of the Rest, with Articles from Emergency Management Magazine
Other popular blogs (not making the top 10) include the 2015 series of interviews with various state CIOs and CISOs, such as this profile of Florida technology leadership plans. (Note the list of other state profiles at the beginning of the blog.)
Also, this article on why breach prevention and response strategies are both essential. (This was in response to the huge industry debate on whether data breaches can even be stopped.)
This opinion piece on how cyber competitions can help grow local security talent was written to assist CISOs in the tough job of attracting and keeping the best security staff possible.
Two emergency management magazine articles received great feedback. One covers false alerts and whether Twitter can be trusted for emergency communications. And another exclusive interview, this time with Dr. Andy Ozment, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assistant secretary, on the future of cybersecurity.
Security Attention from Around the Internet
There were a few other articles that did especially well in 2015 from other media sources. They included:
This IOT Journal article which covered a wide variety of Internet of Things topics.
This TechCrunch article on the growing trend of Hacking for a Cause.
This CSO Magazine article on seven things that government security leaders expect vendors to know.
This Venture Beat article on why data breaches need their own Richter Scale.
I think history keeps repeating itself with technology trends. What often surprises me most is the way that certain general topics, like 2015 stories about the Internet of Things (IoT), are very hot, until they are not anymore. I find that as people become more comfortable with certain themes or buzzwords, they want new details and more specificity. For example, IoT splits into smart cities and smart homes – and even those topics become too broad and get sub-divided. The same trends happened with cloud computing and mobile computing in earlier years.
As we head into 2016, I am reminded of these words by Lady Margaret Thatcher: “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Though I often return to various security and infrastructure topics, I always try to cover these technology issues from diverse viewpoints and perspectives.
Finally, I also want to take this opportunity to thank you, my readers, for continuing to come back. You have made this blog one of the top-rated government cybersecurity blogs in the world (using Google and Bing search metrics). I truly appreciate interacting with you, as well as the engaging comments I receive from Twitter, LinkedIn and personal emails.
I hope you enjoy a safe, prosperous 2016.