Cybersecurity as we know it will be ‘a thing of the past in the next decade,’ says Cloudflare’s COO, as security moves towards a ‘water treatment’ model

In 10 years, cybersecurity as we know it will no longer exist, according to Cloudflare cofounder and COO Michelle Zatlyn, who spoke at Business Insider’s inaugural roundtable conversation featuring five Enterprise Tech Transformers.

“I have a point of view that cybersecurity is going to be a thing of the past the next decade because I think technology is going to solve those problems,” Zatlyn said at the round table, during which the executives discussed rising challenges in cybersecurity and where the industry is headed. “We’re not there today. Today, it’s a real serious threat for businesses.”

It’s not that technology in the future will be threat-proof: Instead, cybersecurity systems will weed out bad actors earlier in their attacks, Zatlyn says.

“You’re going to get to a point where it’s almost like the water treatment filtration systems: If you’re connected to the Internet, you’re going to connect through a cybersecurity network like Cloudflare or some others,” Zatlyn said. “And we’re going to cleanse it and make sure whatever’s passing through us is clean.”

The shift to remote work has sped up that transition, Zatlyn said, as it has underscored the value of cloud-based cybersecurity software instead of on-premise hardware that is meant to protect a single location of a corporate network. 

Cloudflare has seen Internet traffic through its system increase 50% since the beginning of the year as the coronavirus pandemic forces people to work from home, Zatlyn said, which has brought along a surge of new cybersecurity challenges. 

“All sudden everyone’s at home, and so people are connecting and doing work online from new places,” Zatlyn said. “What you’re seeing along with that is a large increase in the number of cyberattacks, which is sad, but it’s true: They’re using the fact that employees are working at home, not on their corporate networks, as a weak link to go and attack.”

Other executives agreed: Security attacks have increased during the pandemic as hackers take advantage of remote work environments, says Okta chief product officer Diya Jolly,  including a surge in impersonations, according to Red Points CEO Laura Urquizu.

“We’ve seen people attacking at the point where the vulnerability is the greatest, which means they’re doing phishing attacks where they’re trying to get people’s passwords and things like that,” Jolly said. 

That’s necessitated a more “user-first” model that understands who each user is and what they should have access to, Zatlyn said. 

The silver lining is that cybersecurity technology has gotten better and cheaper than it used to be, she said: “Although attacks are up, traffic is up, and there are new attack types, the solutions are a lot better and a lot more affordable today if you’re a business having to defend yourself.”

Original Article by Rosalie Chan

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