Only 45 percent of German companies encrypt their data, a survey by Germany’s BITKOM IT industry association reveals. Even worse, not even a third of companies have data leakage prevention or intrusion detection systems in place. Good thing it’s nearly time for CeBIT! Held in Hannover, Germany, the world’s leading digital technology trade show will provide information, advice, support and the right IT solutions to make business secure.

Hannover. Despite reports of cyberattacks featuring in the media almost daily, many companies still have only the bare minimum of IT protection. Against this background, CeBIT, which runs from 14 to 18 March 2016, will profile the latest security solutions and show companies how they can protect themselves more effectively. The security systems on show will be clustered at the ‘”Business Security'” showcase in Hall 6 and, further out on the cutting edge but right next-door in the same hall, at the ‘”Research & Innovation'” showcase. And for a good conceptual overview, leading experts in IT security will give presentations at the CeBIT Global Conferences in Hall 8 and at the new European Cyber Security Conference in the Nord/LB Forum complex adjoining Hall 17.

2016: Year of massive investment in data security

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) recently published its 2015 nationwide cyber security status report. Among much else, the report highlights the increasing professionalization of cybercrime. Basically, cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated and are able to perpetrate their attacks undetected for prolonged periods. The technical term for this is advanced persistent threat (APT). The BSI notes that APTs are very difficult to detect and cites the May 2015 attack on the Bundestag as one of the few cases that ever come to light. The report also highlights the great importance of having adequate protection for today’s increasingly IT-based critical infrastructure.

Improved data security, of course, necessitates greater investment. A recent survey by Germany’s National Initiative for Information and Internet Security (NIFIS) forecasts a massive nationwide increase in corporate expenditure on IT security and data protection in 2016, with 44 percent of companies predicting their cybersecurity spend to rise by a least a third, and nine percent expecting it to double.

New: European Cyber Security Conference in the Nord/LB Forum complex

IT security will also be writ large at the new ‘”European Cyber Security Conference.'” Held on the Monday of CeBIT (14 March), the conference will explore IT security mainly from a business standpoint, although it will also provide an individual-user perspective. The conference motto is, ‘”End of Naivety | End-to-end-Security is Executives’ Top Priority.'” In the morning plenary session, several international keynote speakers will outline the current European and national-level rules and regulations on cyber security and discuss future trends and opportunities for new approaches and new forms of collaboration. The afternoon session comprises several parallel workshops on such topics as transparency and the private sphere, the secure management of increasingly large volumes of data, and emergency measures and procedures. The conference will be held in the Nord/LB Forum complex adjoining Hall 17 and is organized by bdp GmbH.

The end of Safe Harbor and what that means for the IT sector

Last October, the European Court of Justice invalidated the EU-US data transfer framework agreement known as Safe Harbor on the grounds that it did not give adequate protection to EU citizens. The consequences of this decision and the key requirements for a successor agreement will be explored in depth at the upcoming CeBIT. Commenting on the Court’s decision, Bitkom executive board member Suzanne Dehmel called for ‘”internationally harmonized high-level regulations on data protection.'” She said thousands of companies had been basing their data transmissions between Germany and the USA on Safe Harbor and now urgently needed legal certainty for the future.

Heightened IT security and compliance standards

Today’s world of digitally interconnected machines and products and data-driven services calls for very high levels of security. In Germany, the National Reference Project for IT Security in Industry 4.0 (IUNO) has set itself the goal of developing the IT security and compliance standards necessary to achieve this. The project, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is a partnership between 14 industrial companies and seven university research institutes. The envisaged standards aim to minimize the security exploits available to hackers. They will also be cost-effective to implement, meaning they will be attractive to SMEs as well as big corporates.

Controls on the use of smartphones and tablets

Mobile working is an extremely attractive option because it enables employees to access work resources whether they’re working from home, on the road, or on-site with a customer. However, it’s critical for companies to have clearly defined rules for the use of mobile devices, apps and data – particularly in today’s BYOD era, where access to company networks is increasingly via personal devices. A recent IDC survey of corporate IT managers in Germany identified improved mobile security as a top priority. And that means tighter controls on employee use of mobile technology, given that the participating IT managers attributed almost half of all security incidents to employees. Indeed, 30 percent of the non-IT managers surveyed confessed to losing a smartphone containing company data sometime in the last two years. 10 percent even said this had happened more than once.

CeBIT 2016: Best-of-breed security solutions for all industries

Today’s business world involves a constant flow of data between people, machines and mobile devices. At the ‘”Business Security'” showcase in Hall 6 at CeBIT 2016, the world’s leading security specialists will showcase the best solutions for safeguarding this data against cyberattacks. Hall 6 is also home to the ‘”Research & Innovation'” showcase, where the world’s biggest names in IT security research will map out the road ahead for biometric security technologies such as facial recognition and iris scanning.

IT security will also be very high on the agenda at the CeBIT Global Conferences. This year’s lineup of top-flight speakers includes Phil Zimmermann, the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world; Christian Fredrikson, CEO of the Finnish security provider F-Secure; and Peter Schaar, a long-serving former German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information and the current Chairman of the European Academy for Freedom of Information and Data Protection. This year’s CeBIT Partner Country, Switzerland, will also be highlighting IT security themes at the CeBIT Global Conferences. For instance, Marc Bütikofer, CTO of the Zurich-based security provider Airlock, will talk about solutions for the stringent levels of IT security required by Switzerland as a global financial hub.