The number of computer security incidents reported in Portugal increased by more than 150% in 2020, compared to the previous year. Expenditure on information security will exceed 197.3 million euros in 2024, corresponding to average annual growth of 6.3% between 2019 and 2024.
By Nuno Cândido, IT Operations, Cloud & Security Associate Director
Vida Económica - What importance does cybersecurity have for companies?
Nuno Cândido - The topic of cybersecurity is currently one of the significant challenges facing organizations, regardless of their profile, sector of activity, or size. The technological evolution and sophistication of attacks are increasing, and there are more and more attacks. Just between February and March 2020, for example, there was an 84% increase in the number of security incidents reported in Portugal. Machine-to-machine (M2M) attacks, silent attacks, highly personalized attacks, phishing attacks, among others, pose new security challenges that traditional security approaches are unable to respond to.
In this sense, it is materially impossible to claim that an organization is 100% prepared and protected. What is certain is that the theme of cybersecurity is increasingly at the center of the concerns of company leaders and their CIOs. According to the most recent IDC study - SecurityMarket in Portugal, 2020 - spending on information security will exceed 197.3 million euros in 2024, which corresponds to average annual growth of 6.3% between 2019 and 2024. Therefore, there is growing attention and investment in security issues, as well as the emergence of new cybersecurity solutions that rely on new approaches, using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and behavior analysis, which prove to be more efficient, not only in terms of detecting threats but also in solving and nullifying them.
VE - Is cybersecurity an exclusive problem for companies?
NC - Noesis has focused on an educational approach of dissemination and demystification of the topic. Cybersecurity is a problem that affects us all, both at a business level and at a personal level. It's imperative to analyze the risks we're exposed to and define "roadmaps" that allow us to mitigate them until we reach a point where we feel comfortable with the risk we're exposed to.
VE - What is the path to security and resilience for a SME?
NC - It's fundamental to focus on the Security Architecture through a holistic approach that includes "intelligent" technological capacities and standards, guidelines, processes, and practices that guarantee mechanisms to safeguard security policies and privacy of information and access.
VE - How can a SME feel secure in an ecosystem that it doesn't control?
NC - It is a fact that the rapid adoption of the cloud has significantly increased the complexity of infrastructures and this complexity and heterogeneity are here to stay. That's why it is essential to ensure that organizations have a holistic view of their entire IT architecture and infrastructure - automation, integration, and end-to-end observability are vital requirements to be implemented to ensure efficient management. Clearly, we are talking about new paradigms and the journey to the cloud, in its different configurations, is full of challenges, namely security.
It's not just that environments are more complex in hybrid IT architectures with "on-prem", private clouds, and public clouds. It's also about what we see today in terms of threats. On the one hand, the window of opportunity (for attackers) opened by the massive migration to telecommuting, which has created an unprecedented surge. Never have there been so many attacks as now. On the other hand, the attacks' sophistication, using artificial intelligence solutions and "machine to machine" attacks, for example. So it is necessary to change the paradigm - to look for abnormal behavior instead of focusing on the search for malicious behavior. And this paradigm shift is closer than we might think. Artificial intelligence algorithms are one of the fundamental pillars for the automation of cybersecurity and an answer to the limits of human capacity.
VE - Is artificial intelligence an ally of cybersecurity?
NC - Artificial intelligence is a strong ally in the service of cybersecurity and an essential investment to increase security in organizations and to empower the IT teams themselves, removing much of the effort of analysis and allowing them to focus on what is essential, the business and the goals of the organization. With little effort, it becomes possible to monitor networks comprehensively and thus act in real-time on external or internal threats affecting organizations. AI-based solutions use technology that makes it possible to analyze behavior patterns in any network, device, or user in an organization, regardless of scale, through AI algorithms and machine learning, thus making it possible to detect, with high levels of effectiveness, any change in the pattern and therefore identify potential threats much faster. Based on AI and ML models, this type of assistance is the future for organizations that want to stay at the forefront of technology with security.
VE - How can companies protect themselves and prevent possible attacks?
NC - Noesis and its Cloud & Security unit have been increasingly betting on the specialization of its teams and the use of technological solutions that are at the forefront of cybersecurity and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning such as Darktrace. This technology, a world leader in cybersecurity with AI, allows organizations to protect themselves and prevent possible attacks since it can analyze data and visualize the organization's network, outlining security models in real-time and based on predictive models, monitoring, and behavioral models analysis. A model that is much more efficient in detecting anomalies and possible threats and the paradigm shift I mentioned before. At Noesis, we have bet on this technology since 2017, and we became Darktrace's Platinum Partner in 2019, which means we are one of the leading players in the Portuguese market. We have several implementations of this technology in some of the largest organizations in Portugal and in sectors as distinct as Public Organizations, Defense, Telecommunications, or Transportation.