Thales Blog

Emerging Security Challenges For Europe’s Emerging Technologies

September 5, 2019

In responding to ever-evolving threats and opportunities, enterprises today must embrace constant motion – a continuous cycle of responding to change and keeping one eye on what’s to come. This underpins the digital transformation imperative most of them face today, and the huge responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the CIO.

With many of these transformations, it is not just the premise of keeping up that drives the huge levels of investment we see organisations making – but also the promise of what’s possible, if the right technologies and approaches can be harnessed to disrupt or differentiate in the face of fierce competition. This dual premise and promise is reflected in our Data Threat Report-Europe Edition – with over a third (36%) of enterprises stating they are now aggressively disrupting the markets they participate in through a digital transformation project or embedding digital capabilities that enable greater organisational agility.

As you might expect, the report highlighted that data security continues to challenge most organisations as they prioritise the premise of keeping up through transformation, with data often vulnerable in these environments. Yet, the challenges for CIOs and the IT function don’t stop there. As they chase the promise of what’s possible, with a range of new enabling technologies that push the boundaries of connectivity, stability and efficiency, organisations now must deal with an evolving set of associated security challenges.

The vast majority (84%) of enterprises are now using, or planning to use, digitally transformative technologies – such as big data, containers, blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). So how do these technologies stack up from a security standpoint?


The report found that for IoT in Europe, the primary data security threats lie with attacks on IoT devices, loss or theft of IoT devices, and more broadly a lack of established security frameworks for IoT – all of which ranked higher in Europe than in our global sample. In contrast, issues such as protecting sensitive data generated by IoT devices with technologies such as encryption, tokenization and validating the integrity of data collected by IoT devices are much less of a concern in Europe than elsewhere.

Big Data

The picture looks rather different, when we look at evolving threats in the context of big data. European enterprises are most worried here about stronger system-level encryption and access controls, stronger access authentication, and the capability to analyse encrypted or tokenized data in big data environments. Overall, these track closely to the global sample.


Despite the huge potential of distributed ledger technology, a whole new set of security concerns mustn’t be overlooked – evolving threats such as insider risk, cryptojacking and cryptocurrency volatility. European respondents seem particularly nervous, showing more concern about these issues than respondents in the global sample. Of the newer technologies charted here, understanding of blockchain security challenges is probably most nascent – there is a long way to go before this is a reliable, secure enabling technology for enterprises globally.


When it comes to the use of containers in development, European organisations are most concerned about the security of data stored in containers – followed by the spread of malware among containers and lack of trust in container images produced by third parties. With containers continuing to explode in use among application development teams, this new set of risks should be taken seriously.

This emerging set of technologies hold remarkable potential to change the nature of how we build, manage, sell and consume products and services – helping organisations manage complexity and do more with less. Their role within digital transformation projects will only grow, making it all the more important that we keep a close eye on these emerging threats. If we can secure these new enablers we can take a significant step towards securing digital transformation projects as a whole, securing our future economy along the way.

To learn more key findings on how European organisations are handling data security, please check out our 2019 Data Threat Report-Global Edition.