CEO Insider

How the Need for Stronger Network Security Will Impact the Future of Tech Startups

Lu Zhang

Network security is top of mind for almost every business. The trend of using cloud infrastructure and digital transformation for improved efficiency often puts sensitive data at risk. Startups and large corporations alike will need to focus on emerging security solutions that can protect their hardware and software.

Migrating data to the cloud can be an unsettling, overwhelming proposition for many companies, as the lack of visibility can lead to questions around network security. Data breaches alone cost an average of $4.24 million a year — and that is up from 2020 when the average totaled $3.86 million.

Adding more uncertainty to making such a move are the reports that cybercrime has gone up 600% during the pandemic. Businesses of all sizes want more than just assurances; they want guarantees that the most reliable tools for network security are in place to protect company data.

The recent trend for businesses to utilize cloud infrastructure and digital transformation for improved efficiency could put sensitive data at risk. Future tech startups will need to consider the security solutions they are using alongside cloud infrastructure to ensure data remains accessible to businesses, yet secure against cyberattacks. 

Current Trends in the Tech Startup Space Around Data Security

Zero-trust architecture has gained traction over the last few years due to its exclusive focus on securing the perimeters of networks from unwanted entrants. Zero-trust architecture is a departure from the traditional protocols around network security, as the rights and privileges are contingent on continuous verification. The problem is, however, that few companies operate within a clearly defined perimeter, and bad actors inside the organization still pose a threat.

The tech space is also seeing an evolution of endpoint security, moving from desktops to multiple devices, programs, and users. After all, people are now using a variety of personal and company-issued devices to access sensitive data. It is no longer enough for internal networks to control the software updates of just desktops; other devices have to be treated similarly to desktops and laptops when securing company data and applications.

What Is Next in Network Security?

The above trends will impact the future of network security in multiple ways. The following three things are just a few of the emerging technologies that will become critical for hardware and software security:

  1. Secure Access Service Edge (or SASE)
    As a merger of Security as a Service (known as SECaaS) and Network as a Service (known as NaaS), SASE is the future of network security. Delivering networking capabilities and network security in a single cloud-delivered platform, SASE offers secure and fast cloud access to data, services, and applications from anywhere around the globe.
  2. Encryption Search
    Encryption search is also making waves in the network security realm, as people can search and analyze data without ever releasing it from encryption mode. And with consumer data privacy on everyone’s minds these days, it only stands to reason why it will become a major facet in the future of network security.
  3. Federated Learning
    Federated learning employs artificial intelligence to process a lot of data — a practice that can present challenges and concerns around consumer privacy. With federated learning, however, a company processes and analyzes the data without knowing the protocol (i.e., a disclosure of the private information). So, federated learning finds a way to protect the privacy of the data while still applying AI.

In the end, the startup space should aim to do more than improve the capabilities of software from a security perspective. The hardware is never something to neglect. Companies are not necessarily moving all their data at once, and there is still the need for edge devices, which will become ever-more important components of the whole security system.

Another challenge that arises, though, is the balance between efficiency and security. Companies do not want to sacrifice their efficient processes for better protection, but better protection is necessary for securing important data. So, it is critical that organizations ensure the cloud infrastructures and security solutions they use can be embedded within their existing workflows — without interrupting those workflows and reducing efficiency.

You will want to find a one-stop solution to address both hardware and software security. When thinking about the market at large, a hardware-software integration protects the entire stack from breaches and other cyberattacks — addressing the hardware layer and offering faster software. All things considered, such an approach will be a healthier, more efficient option for businesses that want to keep their data and processes secure.


Written by Lu Zhang.
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Lu Zhang
Lu Zhang, the founder and managing partner of Fusion Fund, is a renowned Silicon Valley investor and a serial entrepreneur in healthcare. Lu is a frequent speaker at tech events and conferences such as Davos Economic Forum, Future Investment Initiative (FII), Forbes, Web Summit, SuperReturn, etc. and also serves as a mentor and advisor to several tech innovation programs in Silicon Valley.


Lu Zhang is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn.