Marc Goodman: As More Devices Come Online, Solution Providers Are A Key Line of Defense

Solution providers will play an important role in helping businesses stay safe as the world becomes increasingly connected and vulnerable to dangerous cyberattacks, according to security advisor Marc Goodman.

Goodman, speaking at the NextGen Cloud Conference & Expo, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company, said that cybercrime is expected to grow to a $2 trillion market by 2019 – but that is a $2 trillion opportunity for the channel.

"There's a cyberwar afoot right now, and due to the interconnected nature of the world now, that threat can scale exponentially," said Goodman, founder of the the Future Crimes Institute. "Solution providers will be at the front line ... this is a huge opportunity for you."

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The Internet of Things will bring 50 billion new things online by 2020, according to a report by research firm Gartner, and many of those devices bring new security risks. Research from HP states that 70 percent of IoT devices are vulnerable to attacks.

"We're used to patching endpoints, and servers, and now we have to do it for our cars," Goodman said. "You can't just focus on business technology anymore – if you work with manufacturers, look at SCADA systems or robots that are ripe for hacking."

Corporate customers are already grappling with threats like ransomware, malware and security breaches – with the 2013 Target security breach and the 2015 Android Stagefright exploit only two examples – but the emergence of IoT will bring security threats to a new level.

One such attack was launched just two months ago – in September, a denial of service attack was launched through Internet of Things consumer devices, including webcams, routers and video recorders, to overwhelm servers at Dynamic Network Services (Dyn) and led to the blockage of more than 1,200 websites.

The attack on Dyn, which connects users to websites such as Twitter and Netflix, came from tens of millions of addresses on devices infected with malicious software codes, knocking out access by flooding websites with junk data.

As the threat surface for security grows exponentially, Goodman said that solution providers play an important role in helping businesses protect themselves. To do so, solution providers need to be more proactive and innovative in working with customers to create strategies that address security concerns.

Wes Herschberger, CEO of MapleTronics Computers, a Goshen, Ind.-based solution provider, said that security is a top concern for his customers in the manufacturing segment.

"This is spot on as far as what we see in the marketplace … it's a big opportunity for system providers and managed service providers," he said. "In the manufacturing sector customers are now seeing they have multiple touchpoints on their major devices … This is a huge problem and concern for them and we need to pay attention in that area."

Security risks also present opportunities for solution providers to bring tools to the table for customers with specialized expertise, including backing up data, installing firewalls, antivirus software and Virtual Private Networks.

"End users need personal protection, and this is an opportunity to sit down with your customers, talk to them about their strategy and help them understand," he said.