As a business leader, you’re always looking for ways to push the technology side of your company forward, and during your search, you’ve probably run into the concept of quantum computing.
Despite sounding nebulous and futuristic to the unfamiliar ear, quantum computing holds real potential in a number of different fields, including medical research and artificial intelligence. But it also poses very real problems when it comes to cybersecurity. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Quantum Computing?
In simplest terms, quantum computing is an area of computer science that uses principles from the field of quantum mechanics to solve problems that are too complex for standard computers.
How are quantum computers able to do this? A classical computer consists of bits, but a quantum computer is made up of qubits (quantum bits). While a standard bit exists in only two states, zero or one, a qubit can exist as a zero, one, both zero and one, and any value in between. What’s more, qubits can exist in any number of different states (or all states) at the same exact time.
This parallelism is what makes quantum computers astonishly faster than classical computers. They’re able to sift through extremely large amounts of possibilities in a multi-dimensional way, whereas classical computers work in serial (doing one thing at a time in a series).
Harvest Now, Decrypt Later: How Do Quantum Computers Threaten Cyberecurity?
While quantum computing could have a huge range of applications and benefits, researchers and analysts are concerned over its impact on cybersecurity, and rightfully so.
The biggest concern among professionals is related to cryptographic encryption. Cryptography, the algorithms that encode data and render them unreadable to everyone but the intended recipient, is critical to secure networks. But these algorithms are no match for quantum computing. Long, complicated encryption keys are incredibly difficult for a classical computer to crack. Depending on the key, it could take a computer thousands of years. A quantum computer, theoretically, could decode the same key in a matter of minutes.
Thankfully, quantum computers aren’t yet capable of breaking such complex codes. However, there’s a very high chance they’ll be able to some day in the future, a phenomenon that has become known as “Q-day.” Because of the potential of quantum computers, cyber criminals have begun adopting a “harvest now, decrypt later” strategy, meaning they extract encrypted data today in anticipation of when quantum computers will be able to crack current encryption algorithms.
What does this mean for your business? It means your most sensitive data may already be at risk.
How to be Quantum-Ready
While you don’t need to hit the panic button, your business needs to be prepared for the era of quantum computers.
A solid quantum-proof cybersecurity strategy starts with education and awareness. Helping to close the gap between cybersecurity and executive teams, key stakeholders need to come together to discuss the urgency and potential impacts of quantum computing. With buy-in from senior decision makers, organizations can develop a more comprehensive approach to addressing quantum threats.
KICKSTART YOUR TRANSITION
While there’s some quantum computing software on the market today, it’s far from being standardized. This may make you hesitant to start adopting quantum solutions, but widespread quantum computing is a matter of when, not if, so it’s best to start making the transition with hybrid solutions. A quantum-classical computer hybrid will give you the security of classical computers integrated with the current power of quantum technology (without the need to fully rely on it).
BRING IN THE EXPERTS
Searching for and detecting quantum threats can feel intimidating given the complexity of quantum computing. Consider bringing in a team of cybersecurity experts to give you peace of mind with a managed threat detection program. A trusted provider like AccountabilIT will equip your business with the right security tools, provide around-the-clock monitoring, and provide on-demand support.
Are you ready to get your organization quantum-ready? Reach out today to learn more about how our customer-first approach and advanced cybersecurity solutions can transform and secure your business’s technology.