2018 Predictions & Recommendations: Cloud Security Adoption Will Disrupt the Automotive Industry

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This post is part of an ongoing blog series examining predictions and recommendations for cybersecurity in 2018.

Cloud is transforming many industries, and the automotive industry is no exception. Gartner predicts that, by 2020, we will have a quarter billion connected cars on the road, providing users with everything from next-level navigation systems – using topographical map data to determine the most optimal use of fuel and energy during the car’s route – to vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication in which vehicles can communicate their speed and direction to other vehicles to help avoid accidents. Connectivity is also changing the infotainment features in vehicles (Apple CarPlay and Android auto are just two examples) and helping evolve vehicle technology for autonomous driving.

To make all these services available to the user, new cars will rely heavily on innovative cloud-based technology for necessary tasks, such as vehicle connectivity to the internet; two-way secure data and information sharing between the vehicle and the cloud; and secure access to highly scalable data storage, processing, and analytics capabilities.

But, unless the automotive industry makes connected car integration of secure cloud technology one of their top priorities, the lives of drivers, passengers and other road users could be in danger if the security and integrity of in-car, vehicle-related data and the cloud are not maintained. If the systems, data in the vehicle and the cloud are compromised, the outcome could be catastrophic.

Given these implications, I predict the automotive industry will make massive investments in 2018 to secure cloud environments for safe mobility. The risk of data loss and concerns about data privacy and regulatory compliance in the cloud are pushing auto manufacturers to implement robust security controls that help unlock the full potential of the cloud without slowing down business processes. We have a long way to go, though. Security tools used in the automotive industry have not been designed for cloud environments, and the need to secure cloud access from anywhere, anytime across highly dynamic, virtual environments simply breaks the traditional network perimeter defense approach that was intended to secure traditional data centers.

To unlock the full potential of the cloud in 2018 and beyond, I recommend the automotive industry take the necessary steps to evaluate the security tools they have in place for the connected car. The Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform can help address security risks to the connected car through robust cloud security controls that provide deep visibility, multi-factor authentication and policy automation for comprehensive security management and much more.

Learn more about next-generation security for automotive environments.