We can track back over the past 100 years and see that our collective computing capability has seen exponential growth. Taking massive strides in computing power, storage and accessibility which has never been experienced at such a rate.
We’ve seen huge in various aspects of technology. The way we can store data has advanced; in 30 years we’ve seen the evolution from floppy disks, CD-ROMs, to the vastness of cloud storage. Bandwidth has also increased our internet speed in leaps and bounds, and the frustrating days of modems and dial-up connections feel like a distant memory.
All this progress has inspired us to develop innovative solutions to make life more convenient and practical, and this has led to the boom of machine to machine communications, and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Statista.com reports that by 2020 there will be 31 billion IoT devices used around the world, and as our reliance on these devices grow, so do the threats associated with them.
“As our reliance on these devices grow, so do the threats associated with them.”
Cyber security has also seen exponential growth, but unfortunately, it’s only seen exponential growth due to necessity. Hacking continues to be the greatest threat in cyber crime, followed by malware, social account breaches — the list goes on.
As humans rely less on PCs, the cyber threats are also adapting, and now the biggest device threat is to our mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.Until now, the solutions have been linear and have struggled to keep up with the ever evolving cyber threats. So how do we evolve our security to tackle the ever evolving threats?
First we should look at the things that have been limiting us thus far;
- The cost of storing vast amounts of data, and
- Computing power.
Storing data is cheaper than it’s ever been, and our collective capability in being able to keep data has grown. We also know that computing power has also experienced huge advances by harnessing peer-to-peer networks — and the collective power this brings us in being able to share data securely and rapidly. Blockchain is an excellent example of how peer-to-peer computing power is being harnessed to make rapid transactions using the collective power of various machines across the world.
With the combination of computing power and storage, we need to turn to artificial intelligence (AI) and empower this sleeping giant.
“We need to turn to artificial intelligence (AI) and empower this sleeping giant.”
Siri and other voice assistants are a great way of using AI to help us navigate how we can get from Point A to Point B using a combination of voice recognition, GPS and the internet — but what if we could create an AI that worked on a peer-to-peer network? What if it stored the data obtained from all IoT devices and recorded breaches and threats, learned how to mitigate the threat and then utilised the cloud to share and update all the other devices that are susceptible to it?
AI is the solution that can harness all these tools and evolve, in real time, to deal with the growth of threats to our cyber security. Without a solution that learns and evolves, our reliance on things like IoT devices will be limited and susceptible to fresh new attacks that these devices weren’t designed to deal with.
This is why Pearson has included Cloud Storage and Communication Tools, Programming, and IoT in the BTEC Nationals in IT at Level 3. But our future digital leaders need to be aware of these concepts even earlier, so for the 14-16 year olds choosing IT as a career we’ve incorporated Cloud Computing and Cyber Security within the BTEC Tech Award in Digital Information Technology (DIT).
Soon, cyber security tools won’t be products that we buy off the shelf and install on to our devices, they’ll integrate into the products and become “alive” — learning and communicating everyday, without us even realising the threats they’re identifying and resolving for us and sharing the data across millions of other devices.
As humans, we should accept that we’re not capable of learning like machines can. We need to push past our concerns, and embrace equipping machines to harness the power of peer-to-peer networks, AI, and cloud computing, and trust them with our valued assets. Our homes, our cars, our mobile devices, even our health and wellbeing will be in better hands with artificially intelligent cyber secure algorithms.
Atif Khan is the Sector Manager for Digital and IT BTECs and Apprenticeships at Pearson. He's worked in vocational education for 20 years, and in recent years has specialised in the digital sector, particularly in understanding where the existing tech industry is heading. Before joining Pearson, Atif worked as a Digital Skills and Talent Management Consultant working with the biggest tech employers in the UK. His clients included Cisco, Microsoft, Google, Metro Bank, SAP, Lloyds and other multinational organisations.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in these blogs belong solely to their authors, and are not necessarily those of Pearson.